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