British royal leads ceremony in Barbados for anti-slavery monument

More than two centuries after the end of slavery, one of Britain’s most prominent royals, Prince Charles, is leading another round of protests against the atrocities—and last Sunday Prince Charles was the leader in Barbados, where he unveiled a plaque linking the island to its liberation and denouncing slavery.

After an hour-long, two-track speech, Prince Charles listed several abuses on the island including the system of apartheid.

In his keynote address, the prince said slavery was “one of the most evil forms of human bondage imaginable” and recognized the “barbaric horrors of our past”, The Times reported.

He said: “This island carried on to a new life. This island reinvented itself, and over the centuries our culture has flourished.”

The six-letter island’s new head of state, Keith Mitchell, read out the five-page text from a three-step plan, that laid out a relationship of sorts with Britain, according to the Gulf News.

“Though we are a free state, we have retained strong ties to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,” Mitchell said.

A week before, the prince spoke to students at the University of the West Indies in Barbados.

The prince, who is patron of several educational institutions, asked the Barbados students to be “leaders in search of their own postmodern freedom,” he told them, the Sun reported.

The Prince Charles, who is overseeing the opening of an £80 million ($100 million) navy base on the island, pledged support for Barbados’ close ties with the UK, including assistance with $17 million for a sea defence system to stem floods.

The prince invited the students to his home where he gave a speech to them which was broadcast nationally.

The prince used a Q&A session with students at the Royal Barbados Museum in Bridgetown to celebrate 60 years of the relationship between the island and the United Kingdom, the Island News reported.

“Your story, in the way it grew out of slavery, is a common story around the world,” the prince told the crowd.

The prince praised the island’s “spirited defense of freedom, independence and the Caribbean freedom movement against oppressive systems,” as he urged youths to think globally.

I hope that on the 150th anniversary of the Barbados Freedom War there will be more stories of Caribbean veterans in your countries,” he said.

He added that the island “had to fight its own fight against slavery… Barbados led the way in demonstrating that Africa can also exist as a liberated people.”

The Barbados Press Association of Washington said Prince Charles had also made a pledge to work closely with Caribbean organizations “to preserve and restore Caribbean languages”.

David Francis, executive director of Caricom FreedomWatch Foundation, said in the past Prince Charles had made comments about “slavery as bad and bad as it gets,” according to the news outlet.

Click here to read more from the Telegraph.

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