‘Britain needs to do more to recognise the contributions of African and Caribbean soldiers’, says serviceman—as Natricia Duncan reports for London’s The Voice.
A BLACK veterans’ organisation is seeking the support of the community to erect a statue in London to honour African and Caribbean servicemen.
The West Indian Association of Service Personnel (WASP) needs to raise £100,000 to commission the construction of the statue on Windrush Square in Brixton, south London, in memory of fallen African and Caribbean soldiers.
The effort follows the condemnation by Vince McBean, the WASP chairman, of Britain’s lack of recognition of the efforts of black soldiers.
He said: “Soldiers from the West Indies and Africa, on hearing that England was in trouble, came immediately to assist in whatever way they could.
“I believe a country is measured by how it recognises the people who have sacrificed so much, and what has been done for them in this country is wholly inadequate and not acceptable.”
He added: “I am writing to the prime minister because, as one veteran puts it, they didn’t mention us but they mentioned the dogs.”
Labour councillor Patrick Vernon highlighted the importance of remembering “our West Indian heroes” in a Voice article.
He wrote: “As we commemorate Remembrance Day and Week, we must also recognise the contribution of millions of women and men from Africa, the Caribbean, Southeast Asia, along with other Commonwealth nationalities who have served this country without proper acknowledgement.”
The Jamaican high commissioner, Aloun Ndombet-Assamba, also sent a letter of support to WASP.
She said: “The Jamaican High Commission is pleased to support the initiative of the West Indian Association of Service Personnel to erect a statue to be a monument to the bravery and sacrifice of servicemen and women from the Caribbean who answered the call of the ‘Motherland’ and supported the international fight to promote peace and justice worldwide.”
McBean says the community will decide the statue’s design through a competition. But he confirmed that “it will have to have big lips, broad nose and woolly hair.”
He added: “On it we will write the words, ‘we were there.’”
For the original report go to http://www.voice-online.co.uk/article/black-war-veterans-be-honoured-brixton-statue