Top Guyanese-Britons Welcome Blair’s “Sorrow” Over Slave Trade

Hardbeatnews, LONDON, England, Tues. Nov. 28, 2006: Two of the UK’s top black leaders, ‘Guyanese Mafia’ members Trevor Phillips and David Lammy, have welcomed the expression of “deep sorrow” by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, over the slave trade.

Phillips, the controversial chair of the Commission for Racial Equality, was markedly cool, telling a race convention yesterday, while the descendants of slaves could “never really be compensated, “… this recognition matters.”

Still Phillips urged the Blair adminisation to back its “regret with resource to rescue the victims of contemporary slavery, many of whom are from Africa again, and support to those who still suffer from the disadvantage born of a slave past”.

Lammy, Britian’s Culture minister and Tottenham Member of Parliament, lauded PM Blair, saying, he had “gone further that any other leader in any western democracy in the statement today.”

“I think he struck the right balance between providing for the future, commemorating the past and moving forwards as a multiethnic nation,” the minister told the New Nation newspaper.

Lammy, born to Guyanese parents in Tottenham and raised by a single mother, also praised Blair for recognising “a legacy from this period of our history in Africa and that there is a legacy in relation to black people living here in Britain.”

PM Blair, writing exclusively in the New Nation ahead of the 200th aniversary since the abolition of slavery, stated, “… the bicentenary offers us a chance not
just to say how profoundly shameful the slave trade was – how we condemn its existence utterly and praise those who fought for its abolition, but also to express our deep sorrow that it ever happened, that it ever could have happened and to rejoice at the different and better times we live in today.”

He also revealed that the “UK is co-sponsoring a resolution in the UN General Assembly, put forward by Caribbean countries, which calls for special commemorative activities to be held by the United Nations to mark the occasion.” And he added, “We also need to respond to the problems of Africa and the challenges facing the African and Caribbean Diaspora today.” –