The Great CWG debate — Where does your country stand?4 min read

August 12, 2022 4 min read


The Great CWG debate — Where does your country stand?4 min read

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Dear readers, this page serves as a manuscript for your country to decide the future of the Commonwealth Games. There are 4 countries involved — the UK, Australia, Barbados and India.

1. The United Kingdom

Points to consider:

  1. The British colonised most of the world for several years for economic, political and social gains.
  2. In this time, many people and countries suffered, and had to fight for freedom. The Transatlantic Slave Trade was the most horrific by-product of the UK’s power.
  3. The 20th Century saw the British lose most of its power and hold over the countries it once colonised.
  4. The Commonwealth Games were started in the 1930s as a way for the former empire to have soft power over the countries it once ruled.
  5. Various policy makers in Britain felt that the use of influence through promotion of cultural activities and sport (what we term soft power) could be of great help to the image and clout of Great Britain.
  6. Cut to current day, UK is not the biggest economy among the Commonwealth nations, in fact, India is above it too!
  7. Do we continue to host these games? What do they mean for us in the current world?

2. India

Points to consider:

  1. India was ruled by the British from 1858 to 1947.
  2. This period was marked famines due to British mismanagement, division of the country into two parts, unfair tax provisions, lack of education barring a few who would work for the British themselves, etc.
  3. India fought for its freedom and became a republic. It was independent and free of foreign interference.
  4. After this, policy makers decided that being part of the Commonwealth would bring political and economic benefits to India. Specifically, it would ensure close ties with England – still India’s largest trading partner. Now, India’s largest trading partner is the US.
  5. India hosted in the Commonwealth Games in New Delhi in 2010.
  6. If the Queen is still considered the symbolic head of the Commonwealth Nations, why does India want to associate itself with it?
  7. Does India continue to take part in this event?

3. Australia

Points to consider:

  1. Australia is a founding member of the modern Commonwealth and has been an active participant in Commonwealth organisations, programs and meetings for over 60 years.
  2. Australia is a constitutional monarchy with The Queen as Sovereign.
  3. According to the royal family’s website, when the Queen visits Australia, she speaks and acts as Queen of Australia, and not as Queen of the United Kingdom.
  4. There have been efforts made for more than 2 decades to turn Australia into a republic, but these efforts have gone in vain, which means that not enough people want to cut ties with the Queen.
  5. English settlers started terror and genocide on indigenous Australians to exploit their economic resources and to takeover their homeland. Between 1788 and 1900, the Aboriginal population of Australia was reduced by 90%
  6. Why is Australia still part of a Commonwealth that exploited its original inhabitants?

4. Barbados

Points to consider:

  1. Britain had centuries of influence over the island, which was a hub for the transatlantic slave trade for more than 200 years.
  2. In 2021, Barbados has officially removed Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and become the world’s newest republic.
  3. In an overnight ceremony in the capital, Bridgetown, Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as president.
  4. In a speech, Prince Charles acknowledged the “appalling atrocity of slavery” the Caribbean island suffered. Does this speech make any difference to years and years of suffering?
  5. Barbados announced its plan to become a republic last year, but it will remain within the Commonwealth.
  6. It will be their 17th appearance at the Commonwealth Games, and their first since becoming a republic.
  7. Should Barbados support the Games and still be part of the Commonwealth?

Think and debate over whether your country sees a benefit to taking part in and hosting these games. The “friendly games”, as they are known — are they a way to move forward from the tragic past of colonisation? Or are they a way for the British to hold some kind of power?