KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – Opposition Leader Arnhim Eustace has described as “terrible” and “racist” Agriculture Minister Montgomery Daniel’s statement last week that he did not come here in chains or under indentured servitude.
Daniel’s comments, which have been widely condemned by the public, was made at a Unity Labour Party (ULP) rally in Sandy Bay on Sept. 25.
He was at the time responding to a protester who reportedly insulted his Garifuna lineage while farmers protested outside the Ministry of Agriculture in Kingstown against the Ministry’s mismanagement of the black sigatoka crisis.
“Comrades, from an individual, I heard certain comments. But I say to you, I am born of Carib descendants. Nobody ain’t gotta tell me that. I born right here, nobody ain’t got to tell me that. Comrades, no boat ain’t bring me here in chains and I did not come here in indenturedship. So, I know where I come from. And comrades, I know where I am going,” Daniel said at the rally.
But Eustace said Monday that while citizens might disagree on political issues, they are all Vincentians.
“All of us are human beings and we often have to exercise some sensitivity in the utterances that we make, particularly as politicians,” Eustace said.
“I am very disgusted by the statement that Montgomery Daniel made … because it was a terrible statement to make and even more so from someone who represents a constituency, someone who represents the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines,” Eustace added.
“The majority of the people of this country, [their] ancestors came from Africa and came here in chains. You are supposed to be a representative of people and you are going to say you don’t have anywhere to go because you ain’t come here in chains. What an insult to pass on to the people of this country. You really should go,” Eustace further said, adding that the comment reflected “some discrimination against our Indian community”.
“This is really ridiculous that a minister of government could be making that kind of statement on a public platform and we are expected to accept it. It is ridiculous,” Eustace said.