Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves. (iWN file photo)

Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves has highlighted the empty chairs at the annual National Heroes Day Wreath-laying ceremony in Dorsetshire Hill.

He made the observation during his address at the event Tuesday morning, while discussing the contributions of East Indians to the development of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Gonsalves noted that in 1882 Indian indentured servants protested against colonialism and the conditions of indentureship.

“Dozens of them walked from Argyle, barefoot, came to town to protest…” he said.

“You didn’t have roads. Remember is donkey cart and cattle used to draw the cart. And, in torn clothing, barefooted, walked over eight miles from Argyle to town to protest.

“Well, we are so comfortable today that we can’t even get the chairs filled up here on National Heroes morning at 8 o’clock. I just provide that as a self-criticism. That’s why we must not desecrate the future and we have to read and study the future,” he said, echoing a poem by Vincentian, Ellsworth “Shake” Keane, which he quoted during his speech.

One reply on “PM notes empty chairs at Heroes Day ceremony”

  1. KaribbeanKat says:

    This is not the first time the PM has made this untrue statement.

    The Indians did not have the use of donkeys and cattle drawn carts. They were protesting that the estate owners were swindling them on there wages. At no time did they mention colonialism. That is simply massaging the truth because of his old communist anti colonialist stance.

    The British sent out an agent who corrected the situation between the Indians and the estate owners.

    The Indians contracts said they could have free passage home after their three year contracts ended, almost everyone stayed on for an extended term and citizenship. Despite everything life in Saint Vincent was many times better than in India where they were starving.

    They were also badly treated by black people, perhaps with reason seeing as they took their jobs.

    Since settlement of the Indians they have proven to be model citizens and continue to be.

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