Sir Clifford and Stuart to attend wedding
BARBADOS WILL BE represented at the Royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton by both Prime Minister Freundel Stuart and Governor General Sir Clifford Husbands.
Stuart is one of four political leaders of independent Caribbean countries who have been confirmed as attending the wedding in London on Friday. The others are Dr Ralph Gonsalves of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Stephenson King of St Lucia and Hubert Ingraham of The Bahamas. Gonsalves, Ingraham and King are slated to be accompanied by their wives.
The list of confirmed guests was released over the weekend by Clarence House, the official residence of The Prince of Wales, Prince William and Prince Harry. According to the list, which is on the BBC website, the four Caribbean Community prime ministers will be joined by three other political leaders, namely Julia Gillard of Australia, John Key of New Zealand and Sir Michael Somare of Papua New Guinea.
Sir Clifford, who is officially on leave from yesterday until May 6, is among 13 other governors general from the Caribbean and beyond who will be attending the wedding.
The real interest generated by the list of about 2 000 guests is who was not invited. Regionally, noticeable absentees are prime ministers Baldwin Spencer of Antigua and Barbuda, Dr Denzil Douglas of St Kitts and Nevis, Tillman Thomas of Grenada, Dean Barrow of Belize and Bruce Golding of Jamaica. The governors general for these territories, except Grenada, are all confirmed as attending.
The DAILY NATION spoke to Chief Minister of Anguilla Hubert Hughes, who is the only leader of a British dependency in the region not attending.Hughes said his invitation to the wedding was delivered to him four weeks after it was sent. He stated that the Governor of Anguilla told him it had been misplaced.
“Nonetheless, I would still have had sufficient time. But once he told me that the Anguilla government would have to foot the bill, I said no,” Hughes said. “I would have gone but never under those circumstances,” added Hughes, explaining the tough financial situation his country is in.
That apart, British High Commissioner to Barbados and the Eastern Caribbean Paul Brummell suggested the numbers of Caribbean governors general and prime ministers attending the wedding demonstrated the importance of the region to Britain.
Internationally, the most notable exceptions are President Barack Obama of the United States and past British Prime Ministers Gordon Brown and Tony Blair. Clarence House explained that it was not a state event and this was why they were not invited.
Attempts to get a comment from Stuart’s press secretary yesterday on when he will be leaving for London, and who will be acting as Prime Minister in his absence proved futile.