Ac­tor Danny Glover slams UK PM over call for Caribbean to move on from slav­ery

The Star (St. Lucia) - - REGIONAL -

Amer­i­can ac­tor and civil rights ac­tivist Danny Glover is not im­pressed by UK Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron's call for Ja­maica and the rest of the Caribbean to move on from slav­ery, say­ing that the Bri­tish leader demon­strated his “ig­no­rance” in mak­ing that call.

Glover is in Ja­maica at the in­vi­ta­tion of chair­man of the CARICOM Repa­ra­tions Com­mis­sion and vicechan­cel­lor of the Univer­sity of the West Indies, Sir Hi­lary Beck­les, who penned an open let­ter to Cameron ahead of his visit to the is­land last week, urg­ing him to an­swer the loud calls for repa­ra­tions.

Ad­dress­ing the Ja­maica Par­lia­ment, Cameron an­nounced a pack­age of over £360 mil­lion (US$545.8 mil­lion) of bi­lat­eral aid for the re­gion, but said that while slav­ery was and is ab­hor­rent in all its forms and “has no place what­so­ever in any civ­i­lized so­ci­ety and Bri­tain is proud to have even­tu­ally led the way in its abo­li­tion”, no repa­ra­tions would be com­ing from his coun­try.

“That the Caribbean has emerged from the long, dark shadow it cast is tes­ta­ment to the re­silience and spirit of its peo­ple. I ac­knowl­edge that these wounds run very deep in­deed. But I do hope that, as friends who have gone through so much to­gether since those dark­est of times, we can move on from this painful legacy and con­tinue to build for the fu­ture,” he said at the time.

Glover, ad­dress­ing a Gleaner Ed­i­tors' Fo­rum dur­ing a visit to The Gleaner news­pa­per this week, slammed Cameron's po­si­tion.

“To make such an out­ra­geous state­ment is an in­sult . . . and it just shows his ig­no­rance,” the ac­tor was quoted as say­ing.

“If you don't bring up the is­sue, the bru­tal­ity of it, you don't get a dis­cus­sion around it . . . As al­ways, you are go­ing to have peo­ple who take the most ex­treme po­si­tion against it. They only take that po­si­tion on it be­cause they know it's a vi­able dis­cus­sion, dis­course hap­pen­ing.”

In fact, ad­dress­ing a break­fast fo­rum held in his hon­our yesterday, Glover urged Ja­maicans not to for­get their history.

“When we talk about repa­ra­tions we are tak­ing in our an­ces­tors' sto­ries,” he said. “To un­der­stand what our an­ces­tors had to do to get us to this point; it only en­cour­ages us and re­in­forces what we have to do to take the next step.

“Let's move this mo­ment, let's pro­tect this mo­ment as it re­de­fines us, re­de­fines our pas­sion, re­de­fines our de­ter­mi­na­tion, and so re­de­fines our will to make the com­mu­nity a trans­for­ma­tive com­mu­nity.”

Mean­time, while ad­dress­ing the Gleaner Ed­i­tors' Fo­rum, Glover sug­gested that rather than pump £25 mil­lion (US$38 mil­lion) into the con­struc­tion of a new prison, as an­nounced by Cameron, Bri­tain should give money for schools and in­fra­struc­ture.


Ac­tor and civil rights ac­tivist Danny Glover (Photo: Manoj Jayagoda


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