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MP insulted civil rights movement, senator claims

Environment Minister Sylvan Richards trivialised the struggle for civil rights in House of Assembly remarks on Friday, according to Opposition Senator Diallo Rabain.

Mr Richards had sought to highlight what he said had been the Progressive Labour Party’s economic failures by comparing the PLP’s tenure as Government with the plot line of road movie “Thelma and Louise”, and appeared to dismiss claims by the Opposition party that it was more naturally aligned with the struggle for racial justice.

“You want to live in the past and talk about 1960, and slavery and emancipation. Yeah, I went to (historically black) Howard University, I know all about that stuff. I can talk that black black, blackety black stuff all day too, you know. I can talk it.”

At yesterday’s Senate hearing, Sen Rabain harshly criticised Mr Richards’ speech as trivialising the civil rights struggle.

He later told

The Royal Gazette that Mr Richards made no substantial contribution to Friday’s proceedings in the House of Assembly despite the fact that in his own constituency two major developments had occurred — tax concessions to develop Pink Beach hotel and the granting of planning permission for a permanent lifeguard station at John Smith’s Bay.

He said he had been approached by many over Mr Richards remarks.

“He (Mr Richards) dismissed anything that people of colour had done, and the civil rights movement.

“To trivialise it by saying ‘I know about that black black blackety stuff’ I found it quite insulting to people of colour who had gone through the civil rights movement,” said Sen Rabain.

“He was insulting the memories of the very same people who marched and paid the price for him to be in the House and say the things that he said. ”

Minister of Minister of Environment Sylvan Richards Photo David Skinner

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Published July 30, 2013 at 9:15 am (Updated July 30, 2013 at 9:15 am)

MP insulted civil rights movement, senator claims

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