Torturing slave owner, a ‘hero’ no more


Contractors in Cardiff, Wales encase a statue of slave trader Sir Thomas Picton (left) and (right) a portrait of the slaver

From daily The Morning Star in Britain, 24 July 2020:

Statue of ‘sadistic’ slaver who tortured a 14-year-old girl removed from Cardiff city hall

A CARDIFF statue of a “sadistic” slaver who had a teenage girl tortured was boarded up today following a vote to have it removed from in front of the city hall.

The marble memorial to Sir Thomas Picton has stood there since 1916, when it was unveiled by future prime minister David Lloyd George as part of a series depicting “heroes of Wales.”

Picton was the most senior British officer killed at the Battle of Waterloo but was also known for having used the slave trade to amass a considerable fortune.

He was the colonial governor of Trinidad from 1797 to 1803, during which “highly brutal” time he had a dozen slaves executed, and in 1806, Picton was found guilty of having ordered the torture of a 14-year-old mixed-race girl.

The torture of Louisa Calderon, which involved her being suspended with rope by one arm above a spike in the floor, was an attempt to get her to confess to stealing from a businessman she lived with as his mistress.

Picton was never sentenced and the verdict was overturned following a retrial two years later.

Cardiff’s Lord Mayor Dan De’Ath, the first black person to hold the post, called for the statue of the “sadistic 19th-century slave-owner” to be taken down.

The council voted to remove the statue from the Marble Hall of Heroes on Thursday night with 57 in favour, five against and nine abstentions.

Mr De’Ath said: “I’m delighted. I think the way Cardiff has gone about the whole thing has been the right way. We’ve used democratic means to take it down.

“Most people were incredibly supportive. They recognise the significance of the statue and what an affront it is to black people. Black lives do matter.”

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