Jamaica Observer/CHOGM: KIGALI, Rwanda, By Arthur Hall — The heir to the British throne, Charles, Prince of Wales, has again signalled that the monarchy has no problem with any Commonwealth member state which decides to cut ties with The Queen and has indicated that he supports talks to address the legacy of slavery.
Delivering remarks at the official opening ceremony of the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali on Friday, Charles noted that the Commonwealth is a free association of independent, self-governing nations.
He also reiterated that a decision by any member of the Commonwealth to switch from the monarchy to a republic form of Government would not impact their position in the group of 54 states, which has a total population of some 2.6 billion people.
Jamaica has signalled its intention to switch from the monarchy to a republic by 2025, but there have been increasingly louder questions about the Andrew Holness-led Administration’s decision to nominate a candidate to head the Commonwealth Secretariat while ditching The Queen.
“The Commonwealth contains within it countries that have had constitutional relationships with my family, some that continue to do so and, increasingly, those that have had none,” Charles told the audience which included heads of government, senior ministers, and a large media contingent.
“I want to say clearly, as I have said before, that each member’s constitutional arrangement, as republic or monarchy, is purely a matter for each member country to decide. The benefit of long life brings me the experience that arrangements such as these can change calmly and without rancour.
“But, as I said in Barbados last November, we should never forget the things that do not change. The close and trusted partnership between Commonwealth members, our common values and shared goals, and perhaps, most importantly, the strong and enduring connections between the peoples of the Commonwealth which strengthen us all,” added Charles in reference to that Eastern Caribbean island’s decision to switch to a republic.
Charles declared that the shared values, goals, and friendship transcend the ties of shared history of members of the Commonwealth.
In the meantime, the Prince of Wales skirted the growing calls for reparation from Britain for the slave trade, even as he argued that Commonwealth nations need to acknowledge the wrongs that shaped the past.
“Many of those wrongs belong to an earlier age with different and, in some ways, lesser values. By working together we are building a new and enduring friendship,” said Charles as he acknowledged that the roots of the Commonwealth contemporary arrangement “runs deep into the most painful period in our history”.
“I cannot describe the depths of my personal sorrow at the suffering of so many as I continue to deepen my own understanding of slavery’s enduring impact. If we are to forge a common future that benefits all our citizens we, too, must find new ways to acknowledge our past.
“Quite simply, this is a conversation whose time has come,” declared Charles.
Top Feature Photo: KIGALI, Rwanda — Britain’s Prince Charles delivers his message during the opening ceremony of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting on Friday, June 24, 2022 in Kigali – AP