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PM vows to spend rest of life seeking reparations

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. (File photo).

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. (File photo).

KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent, March 15, IWN – Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves says he will use the rest of his life to seek compensation from the British for land, genocide against the Garifuna, and slavery.

Gonsalves, who turns 67 in August, noted on Thursday — National Heroes Day — that the average lifespan of a Vincentian male is 74 years.

“If I only do the average, I will thank God for the average. But, I have seven more years, to talk like this, with the help of almighty God, and to demand a proper historical recompense for genocide, for the land, and for African slavery and for us to reclaim our history,” he said at the Wreath-Laying Ceremony at The Obelisk in honour of National Hero Joseph Chatoyer in Dorsetshire Hill.

Gonsalves reaffirmed the position of his government as stated at the United Nations and other fora that it is making a case and a claim for reparation from the British.

“I want to say that the quantification of what we are owed as reparations that quantification has to be complete with the appropriate technical work.”

He said the Cabinet will shortly name its Reparations Committee.

“But we want to see not only a reparations committee for St. Vincent but we want to see a Caribbean wide reparations committee involving other Caribbean countries. Jamaica has one, Antigua has one, Barbados has recently set up one,” he said.

Gonsalves said in the 18th Century the British took 90,000 acres of land from the Garifuna, the original inhabitants of St. Vincent.

“Imagine the price of 90,000 acres of land [today]. Even if you valued it then for 100 pounds an acre, … you are talking about EC$500 million for the land, [at] the least. And then, what value you are going to put on people’s lives? That’s a number we will have to talk about,” he said.

Gonsalves said that at Emancipation the British gave slave owners in the British Caribbean 20 million pounds.

He said a recent study by Dr. Nick Draper of the University College of London concluded that 20 million pounds then is about 16.58 billion pounds now.

“Just forgetting for a moment the institution of slavery itself, that’s what they paid the owners of the slaves. If you take half of that representing for the Caribbean, you are talking about 8.25 billion pounds for the English speaking Caribbean,” Gonsalves further said, adding that the figure is about EC$40 billion.

“Great homes in England — lord this and lord that — were financed by the compensation money for the slaves. So when I talk like this you, you have some people saying Ralph [is] against the British.

“I have nothing against the British. I have nothing but admiration for the British and their achievement but there are some things for which we must take account.”

He said that some people argue that the British gives aid to St. Vincent.

“Well, I rather they give me that (reparation) than give me some aid. I rather we settle that. This is a matter which can’t be settled in law court. But this is a matter where, politically, we have to raise our voices,” Gonsalves said.

“Read study and research and let us not get involved in … fights about who is going to be our next national hero,” he said.

George Augustus McIntosh, Ebenezer Theordore Joshua and Robert Milton Cato have so far been proposed for declaration as National Hero.

“Any of the names which come forward — one, two or three. And whatever is done by the act of the Governor General through the process, we must accept it and move on.”

Gonsalves further said he expects “those who have suffered from French and Spanish colonialism to make those same claims against the relevant or appropriate European powers”.

IWN Conversations

0 thoughts on “PM vows to spend rest of life seeking reparations

  1. peterbinose says:

    PROFDASILVA, Education should make one smarter. Less prone to dogmatism. More reasonable, more able to see the grey areas and acknowledge the other fellow’s point of view. That is, unless you are basically an idiot to start with. You can educate a man and he will still be an idiot, an educated idiot.

    Remember Gonsalves once told us he is the blackest man in Saint Vincent, he said being black is an attitude not a colour. Now don’t you think that from the moment he said that, that we should of realised that he was an educated idiot.

  2. profdasilva says:

    Gonsalves will fry himself with his own smart mentality. He think he is so brilliant and knows it all because he has over 2 decades of legal experience. HE THINKS HE IS ABOVE THE LAW AS HE IS PRIME MINISTER OF St VINCENT AND THE GRENADINES. HE THINKS HE IS INVINCIBLE. ANOTHER HITLER MENTALITY,WANTS TO RULE THE WORLD. NOW HE WANTS TO INFLUENCE THE CARIBBEAN AND LATIN AMERICAN COUNTRIES TO GET SLAVEY COMPENSATION MONEY FROM THEIR FORMER EUROPEAN POWERS. WHY DONT THE ‘WISEMAN’ GONSALVES FIND OUT IF THE STATUTE OF LIMITATION IS EXPIRED.
    MAY GOD GRANT THIS GONDSALVES THE WISDOM HE NEED TO LEAD SVG! FOR THIS KIND OF MENTALITY DOESN’T SOUND LIKE A COMING FROM A WISEMAN. AS FAR AS I AM CONCERN WHY DONT HE JUST STEP DOWN,DOESN’T HE THINKS HE HAS DONE ENOUGH HURTING TO POOR PEOPLE IN VINCY ALREADY. THE AIRPORT WILL FINISH REGARDLESS. It is time gonsalves stop squeeze poor people to get things done.

  3. peterbinose says:

    We must not forget that it was a member of the Portuguese Madeira Gonsalves family that started off the Atlantic slave trade and what Gonsalves describes as Genocide.

    Therefore to start with Ralph E. Gonsalves should take all that he owns, sell it and put it together with his retirement fund and pay it into an escrow account for the Black Caribs, which are not the same people as in SVG who like to think they are Black Caribs. Send it to the Black Caribs Association in Guyana.

    Gonsalves, stop being a hypocrite, pay for your families past, just as you are asking the British to pay for their families past.

    Then ask the Portuguese government to put their money in, they are second in line to your family. Then ask the Spanish government to put their money in, they are next in line. Lets take it one step at a time, starting with you, oh motor mouth.

    PAY THE MONEY HONEY AND QUIT DUCKING AND DIVING FROM THE TRUTH. WE KNOW THAT A BIG CHUNK OF CASH WOULD BE USFUL FOR THE AIRPORT, BUT YOU PUT YOURS IN FIRST.

  4. peterbinose says:

    Inappropriate timing Gonsalves, its seen as an attempt to turn the tide of people fleeing you and your party.

    We are waiting for the Panorama program.

    We would like to see the whole letter the BBC sent to you and the whole letter you wrote in reply.

    One thing that I hope for the future is that no Vincentian ever proposes you as a National Hero.

    “I sometimes tell lies”

    “show me a liar and I will show you a thief”

    “I only work Obeaha for the Lord”

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I-Witness News is the leading source of daily and breaking news and current affairs information from and about St. Vincent and the Grenadines. We were founded in February 2009 by Kenton X. Chance, a career journalist and adhere to the highest standard of journalism.