United States going back to its “difficult and shameful past”, says Welsh Health Minister

2 June 2020, 15:19

Vaughan Gething said the US risks a return to its 'shameful past'
Vaughan Gething said the US risks a return to its 'shameful past'. Picture: PA
Daniel Bevan

By Daniel Bevan

Wales' Health Minister has said race relations in the United States are heading back to a "difficult and shameful past".

But he also believes we have similar "disparities and inequalities” here in the UK.

At least 5,600 people have been arrested as protests continue across the United States following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

Protests have now taken place across the world, including in London and Cardiff.

Speaking to LBC during Tuesday's Welsh Government daily briefing, Vaughan Gething said: “This is quite personal.

“I’m in a position where I see what’s happening and, despite the fact that I have an all-consuming job to do in this once-in-a-century pandemic, you can’t avoid the images that you see.

“I remember growing up and seeing [the killing of] Rodney King and when that took place it drew in riots as well.

“It isn’t just America that appears to be going backwards to its difficult and shameful past on race relations, it has an impact on all of us and it matters here too.

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“We have disparities and inequalities within the United Kingdom, they may not be as stark as in the USA, but this matters to me because of who I am.

“I look forward to progress being made here, not just for our people, but as an example for other countries too.

“And I certainly hope that all those good people in the United States of America recognise the biggest harm being done isn’t the loss of property, it’s the loss of lives.

“All our lives should matter the same but, unfortunately, in some countries they don’t."

Yesterday, Mr Gething sent a message of “solidarity” to those who protested the death of George Floyd in the Cardiff last weekend.

He’s called on people to keep to the guideline in Wales which ban mass gatherings, but has expressed he would like to join the protests when it safe to do so.