Home / View Point / Guest Columns / Guyadeen: As a descendant of the First Peoples of T&T, I won’t cry for Queen Elizabeth—and here’s why

Guyadeen: As a descendant of the First Peoples of T&T, I won’t cry for Queen Elizabeth—and here’s why

Buckingham Palace announced on Thursday 8th September 2022 the death of Her Royal Highness Queen Elizabeth, as per her official title. That announcement seemed to evoke powerful emotions from around the world and not just among the Royal family and the British people. 

The world is now in mourning. All media houses have since posted articles, photos and videos about this “great lady”, while politicians around the world expressed heart-felt condolences—including leaders from the British Commonwealth countries. 

Photo: Queen Elizabeth II walks through the UWI Campus in Trinidad on 7 February 1966, during a tour of the Caribbean.
She was accompanied by Minister of Education and Culture Donald Pierre (right).
(Copyright AP Photo)

Nations lowered their flags to half-mast in her honour. Historically, she was the longest reigning monarch for Great Britain and in modern Europe. Stories of her triumphant reign and about all the “good” she did is being broadcast constantly.

But I for one will not pay any homage to a woman whose legacy, wealth and continuance through her heirs comes from slavery, colonisation and indentureship. In fact, I will not forget the history of abuse inflicted upon Trinidad and Tobago, the Caribbean region, the African Continent, and other regions of the world by Queen Elizabeth’s family and other European powers. 

The newly crowned King Charles III earlier this year apologised to the Caribbean for its role in the British trans-atlantic slave trade. However, empty apologies mean nothing to me—as a descendant of the First Peoples of T&T as well as a descendant of Indian indentureship. The British owe us. 

Image: A mother is separated from her child during a slave auction.

European powers raped, enslaved, murdered and stole so much from us. Because of their actions, there are longstanding issues that still exist today in our societies—including stolen lands that were given to French creoles and are occupied by the 1% of this country.  

So don’t tell me I have to cry for this woman, because I fuh one will not forget the racism and ethnic divide she is responsible for promoting my country. The legacy of divide and rule still exists today. 

I know my view on this subject will be greatly criticised and many will not agree with me, but that’s okay. I have always stood on my own, and moved to the beat of my own drum. 

I know the history of T&T and my family’s history. 

Many may say that “that’s the past, let it go” and “she was an old lady—graceful, kind, strong”. Good for you.

Image: A depiction of slaves serving their masters in Trinidad.
(Courtesy Netssa.com)

The great calypsonian Delamo once sang “Doh ask me tuh wine ah cyah wine”; well for me I would say, “doh ask me to cry, ah cyah cry fuh Elizabeth.” 

Her legacy will live on through her first born King Charles III, as he is now called, and his descendants. One would think that if Britons were truly sorry for their past, they would put the Monarchy to rest. But the idea of Royalty reigning over them is a tradition they are not willing to part with. 

And so it goes….

About Julie Guyadeen

Julie Guyadeen
Julie Guyadeen has a BSc. in Government with a Minor in International Relations and Postgraduate training in International Relations both at the UWI St. Augustine Campus. She is a firm believer in civil society having an active voice.

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6 comments

  1. I totally agree with your sentiments!I have not given her death a first,far more a second thought.AS far as I am concerned the royal family have been parasites living off the proceeds of pernicious,evil activities associated with obscene exploitation of many peoples.The tragedy is the status quo will continue,The movement for reparations and compensation must never wither.

  2. I express the very sentiments of my brother Gayadeen. As a person of African decent and First People ( Indigenous to this country) Heritage…. I consider it an act of dishonour to express any grief or sadness regarding the passing of one of the last stoic symbols of the treachery of white supremacy and the lasting impact of anguish, bitterness and pain which I too even now, carry in my very DNA, by virtue of being a decendant of those who experienced these atrocities 1st hand.

    I am not barbaric, I am a kind, loving and caring human being like most of us are. However, I feel no need to justify the way I feel because truth needs no defence.
    Can I empathize with those close to her that are directly impacted by her passing? The answer is yes! I can relate to the death of a grandmother, to them she is the bedrock of their wealth and heritage. She seemed to be also loving to her family therefore, the pain they may feel is natural. I understand their position. However, my focus remains on my own experience and that of my Kinfolk, the cause; the colonizers and the effect of colonization on those who were affected by it.
    Can we be relieved from the past trauma of slavery and colonization? Yes. But that is another discourse for another place and time.
    Why should we pledge aligence to the crown of colonization even at this time in our story, have we even or ever considered that our Ancestors were real people just as you and I? Have we ever put in perspective the torture they endured, for us to be here? Have you asked youself if you could have lived through it? Do we ever examine our past in a real way or do we follow the ‘get over it narrative’?
    When a figure such as the queen and what she represents is trust into your space, it must provoke and invoke the sentiments being proffered. Particularly, to those so inclined consciously spiritually and emotionally inclined.
    Conversely, only a genuine effort by those who represent the colonizers, to reach out to the mainland African and Africans in the diaspora as well as the Indigenous communities worldwide, by engaging in meaningful dialogs, such as the plundering of Africa and the lasting effects of such actions, can be seen as an effort to correct the wrongs of their past. For example, France to this day collecting reparations from colonized Africa.
    What, of all the free labour the Crown received from all the British Colonies? Where is the conversation on reparations for our Ancestors Blood,Sweat, Tears and life of Horror?
    History has shown that the worst treatment had been metted out to Africans, to the Africans brought to the Americas and those that the colonizers considered invisible; (the Natives) in the ‘New World’ that they conquered. They were massacred!
    Now to highlight my point!
    Recently on social media, I saw photos and updates of the Africaribbean Trade and Investment forum held in Barbados.
    Interestingly, I noticed that the representatives from Trinidad and Tobago were of East Indian decent, absolutely no problem there! Absolutely
    no offence to the East Indian Community, I am first to acknowledge your endurance, determination and good success. But, my question is, in a Nation where almost half the population is of African decent, where were the businessmen of African decent In this conference which considers strengthening of bonds with our Motherland in business? Not to mention, the yields of so many benefits in various ways by engaging such ties with Africa at this time and in the future generations to come. (As I hear from a distance the afro-beats my daughter is listening to.) Let us look to Africa and to the development of our nation, to where we can contribute and imporve our status! Not to the distant land, and the distant memory of what it represents. Stay Focused!

    African decendants in Trinidad and Tobago we have much more to mourn than the Queen of England (now deceased).
    That is where we should grieve, the fact that we have not sat and dealt with our business! So please let us drink our water at this point and look to the future by –
    Redirecting our energies to the future of our children….Let us leave them a heritage which would endeavour to atone for the past pain of our Ancestors at the hand of Bloody Britannia and her cohorts.
    Long live the children of a retched past!

  3. What ah loadah crock!

    First of all, the Queen is not responsible for the slave trade. That ended long before she became Queen. Also, she was never responsible for the racism and ethnic divide the author cites. Any unbiased examination of her reign would see that she promoted all inclusiveness, as far as she could influence. Again, bear in mind that her influence lay outside of the political arena.

    Second, the Queen is not a political entity. By law the Queen/King must stay out of the political arena. Therefore, all they can do is apologise for what went on in the past, which they have done. They have no influence in making amends/reparations, no matter who calls for it or however many times it is called for.

    Third, the author owes her very education (and more) to the British influence. Be grateful. No matter what your personal beliefs are, the British influence has changed the world – in some ways for the better, in some ways worse. It is what it is – one cannot change facts to suit one’s own personal narrative.

  4. I’m glad somebody spoke up.

  5. We’re it not for indentured labour you would have been born in India where it’s real ketch ass and you would be a NO BODY. No one is asking you to cry for the QUEEN ! There are good and bad in everything. Do you blame indentureship for your present status ?