Wessex urged to use ‘diplomatic influence’ for island reparations claim

The Earl and Countess of Wessex have been urged to use their “diplomatic influence” to achieve “restorative justice” for the island of Antigua and Barbuda.

The country’s Prime Minister told Edward and Sophie: ‘You will have noticed there are no protests here’, adding that they were ‘not holding signs’.

It follows protests during the couple’s visit to St Vincent and the Grenadines on Saturday, where banners were held saying “compensation now” and “Britain, your debt is unpaid”.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex meet Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda at Government House (Joe Giddens/PA)

Gaston Browne said the decision not to protest was because they believed they were having an “open and very objective discussion”.

Mr Browne also told the Earl and Countess that the country wanted to ‘one day become a republic’.

The Prime Minister’s remarks came during a meeting between Edward and Sophie, Mr Browne and his Cabinet during their visit to the island on Monday.

Although he said the country would like to change its position one day, he acknowledged that it was “not planned” at the moment.

The Prime Minister said he understood the Royal Family were not getting involved in ‘contentious issues’ but said he wanted them to ‘understand these issues… so you can use your diplomatic leverage to get the restorative justice we seek”.

Mr Browne added: ‘The reality is that we have been left behind and deprived of modern institutions such as universities and medical facilities.

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