By Gemma Handy (Antigua Observer) “Open and objective” talks on slavery reparations was the call from Prime Minister Gaston Browne yesterday to the Earl and Countess of Wessex during their whistle-stop tour of Antigua.
Striking a conciliatory tone, Browne said he had no desire to embarrass Prince Edward and Sophie on what he acknowledged was a controversial issue.
But he urged the royal couple to use their “diplomatic influence” to help the twin island nation seek reparatory justice for both the transatlantic slave trade and the effects of climate change.
Browne told the Wessexes it was time to “build bridges” and that compensation in the form of educational opportunities and health infrastructure would be welcomed.
He acknowledged the absence of placard-bearing protestors which plagued the couple over the weekend in St Vincent – the second leg of their brief Caribbean tour to mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee.
Prime Minister Browne said Antigua and Barbuda believed instead in “constructive engagement”.