Reparations: How can The Queen’s subjects ask her for an apology?
Police Commissioner Michael Matthews, a British native, has suggested that it is inappropriate for BVIslanders to ask Governor Augustus Jaspert to apologise for comments he made on reparations in a recent interview.
Commissioner Matthews gave his personal view on the matter when he appeared on the Honestly Speaking with Claude Skelton Cline radio show earlier this week.
He said since BVIslanders are the Queen’s subjects, asking for an apology from Governor Jaspert - the Queen’s representative - would essentially amount to Her Majesty’s subjects asking her for an apology.
“I’ve listened and I’ve followed the media response on the points that you (Mr Skelton Cline) have raised … In effect, you’re asking the Queen for an apology because of course, Governor Jaspert is the Head of State, he’s the Queen’s representative … and if [its] the BVI government - Her Majesty’s government, then it becomes quite peculiar to be looking through that lens to say, ‘how does Her Majesty’s government ask her Majesty for an apology’? How do BVI-islanders, who are Her Majesty’s subjects, ask Her Majesty for an apology?” Commissioner Matthews asked rhetorically.
In a recent video interview with 284 Media, Governor Jaspert reiterated the UK’s longstanding position on reparations when he said paying reparations to the descendants of slavery “is not a position that the United Kingdom has taken”.
There was public outcry after the interview with some calling on the Governor to apologise for his comments.
When he appeared on Honestly Speaking earlier this week, Commissioner Matthews defended Governor Jaspert, saying the Governor can’t apologise on behalf of the queen.
“For me, we have to take the personalities out of it. It’s not about the Governor. I listened to that broadcast on 284 that day and he gave what he believed to be the current position of the UK. So I think he’s in a difficult position. I don’t see he can personally apologise on behalf of the Queen,” Commissioner Matthews said.
In a subsequent letter addressed to Baroness Elizabeth Sugg - the UK Minister responsible for Overseas Territories - Premier Andrew Fahie said he sought to have the people’s voices heard and to bring clarity to the UK’s position on slavery and reparations.
In response, Baroness Sugg said she fully supports Governor Jaspert’s position.