Call for Deputy Governor to promote Mary Prince
The following is for the attention of the Deputy Governor of Bermuda, Alison Crocket.
Dear Ms Crocket,
Earlier today (March 3, 2019) a Private Members’ Bill was introduced into the Houses of Parliament at Westminster Palace by Conservative MP Helen Grant under the Ten Minute Rule.
The Bill entitled “Bank Note Diversity Bill” is summarised as “A Bill to require the Bank of England to meet standards for the representation of ethnic minority persons on banknotes; and for connected purposes’.
Notably, the Bank of England has already approved and put into circulation banknotes featuring three females of distinction: Florence Nightingale, £10 was in circulation between 1975 and 1992; Elizabeth Fry, £5 was in circulation between 2002 and 2016; and Jane Austen, £10 is in circulation as of 2017.
Thus this “Bank Note of Diversity Bill” is being drafted to expand the circle of distinction to include individuals of diverse ethnicity, and Mrs Grant shared some noted individuals who should be considered for the new £50 banknote, such as Mary Seacole, British-Jamaican nurse whose life’s work and nursing dedication are equal to Florence Nightingale and Mohammad Abdus Salam, born in Pakistan and awarded the Nobel Prize in Physic, et alia.
It is at this juncture that I would like to invite you, as the most senior female diplomat of the British Overseas Territory of Bermuda, to join in advocating on behalf of Mary Prince to be included on the list of distinguished candidates to be placed before the Bank of England for consideration on the next £50 banknote.
As history recognises that Mary Prince was the first female to present an anti-slavery petition before Westminster Parliament as a former slave, author, abolitionist and born Bermudian because the details gleaned from her book entitled The History of Mary Prince spearheaded the abolition of slavery throughout the entire British Empire.
Mary Prince’s book was published in 1831, which led to the Slavery Abolition Act (1833) that received the Royal Assent on August 28, 1833 and took effect on August 1, 1834. And although there appears to be no known pictures of Mary Prince, her “near likeness” can be constructed via artist visual composition.
The second reading of this Bill will be tomorrow; thus, it would be gratifying to note that collectively the British Government and the Bank of England will give due consideration for the inclusion of Mary Prince as a worthy candidate whose courage played a pivotal role at Westminster Palace and resulted in the legislation that ended slavery throughout the British Empire.
VALIRIE MARCIA AKINSTALL
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