The man, who wrote in two newspapers a letter for which one was asked to apologise because it contained defamatory comments, has presented the opinion piece to one of the region’s leading academics.
Matthew Thomas presented his letter captioned “Black people, wake up — Wake up, black people”, to Professor Sir Hilary Beckles after the educator gave a lecture on reparations in Kingstown last week.
The letter was among eight newspaper articles that Thomas, a former political colleague, now political opponent of Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves, presented to Beckles.
The letter was published in Searchlight and The News newspapers on July 23 and July 26, respectively.
The News newspaper has responded to Gonsalves’ demand for an apology for statements Thomas made about the arrest and bringing of sedition charges against Ordan Graham on Sept.19, 2006.
Gonsalves did not demand an apology from Searchlight as he did from The News at a July 29 press conference.
And, when a journalist mentioned at a press conference on Aug. 16 that the comments were also published in another newspaper, the Prime Minister’s response suggested that he did not know this.
Thomas, speaking during the open forum after Beckles’ lecture, said Beckles had delivered
“a good lecture”.
“I consider reparations and slavery and the history of slavery a perception,” Thomas said, adding, “There are many things you said I do not agree with.
“I realise that if each of us were given the opportunity to make comments, we will go to the end of the year. So, what’s I’ve done, I have put together some newspaper clippings in the form of a booklet to give to you because we would not be able to question-answer, discuss them,” he further said.
“I see you have great admiration for Dr. Gonsalves. This is your experience. But in our local parlance, we have a saying, ‘Come see me and live with me are two different things.’ I hope you understand what that means. In other words, the taste of the pudding is in the eating. You may understand that one. But, in St. Vincent, we say ‘Come see me and live with me are two different things’,” Thomas told the Barbadian academic.
Thomas told Beckles he hopes Beckles will read the articles and “form your own opinion”.