Britain's Treasure Islands on Points of View
A few weeks ago you may remember the series Britain’s Treasure Islands featured a lengthy piece on the Chagos Islands. Unlike other Overseas Territories featured in the series, however, the native people of the island were not mentioned.
Chagossians and their supporters were naturally upset by this and contacted the BBC’s feedback programme Points of View. Questions included an enquiry over whether “censorship” had played a role in the omission, and why Chagossians had been excluded but populations in Bermuda and Pitcairn had featured at length.
The producer of the series issued a written statement to Points of View, which you can see below.
Although Ms Sennett's reply is welcome, it is not entirely satisfactory. For one thing the history of the Chagossian people is directly relevant to the natural history of the Chagos Islands. The coconut plantations discussed were only there because of Chagossian society. There remains no reason for their absence when there was such in-depth coverage of Pitcairn Islanders and Bermudans.
"As for concerns about 'doing a disservice to complex political and historical events,' I'm afraid this is exactly what the programme did by omission. To have the only reference to Chagossians in the whole programme as "plantation workers who were resettled in the 1960s" is a gross distortion of history. Chagossians were evicted and abandoned; not resettled" commented UK Chagos Support Association Committee Chair Stefan Donnelly.
Thank you to everyone who contacted the BBC to raise this issue. Opportunties to raises awareness of Chagossians fight for justice are few and far between, and it was really important we corrected the misrepresentations of this programme.