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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were accused of benefitting from the ‘blood, tears and sweat’ of slaves as they arrived in Jamaica on Tuesday to be met by a protest calling for reparations from the British monarchy.
And the Advocates Network coalition of Jamaican politicians, business leaders, doctors and musicians wrote an open letter detailing 60 reasons why the monarchy should compensate the country.
It is now understood that Jamaica’s decoupling has been discussed at the ‘highest levels’ in government, with one political source even saying a senior figure had been appointed to oversee the changeover.
Another political insider told The Independent: ‘The government has had to start the process; the road to becoming a republic is not an easy one but they have long been coming under significant pressure to do it.’
BAZAAR.com also reported that the government has started the ‘long and arduous process’ and aims for it to be completed by August 6 – exactly 60 years after Jamaica gained its independence from the UK.
Marlene Malahoo Forte, who was Jamaica’s attorney general until January, in December told the local newspaper Jamaica Observer that she had received instructions from Prime Minister Andrew Holness to reform the constitution to become a republic.
A senior government official speaking to Bazaar.com said it will be ‘full steam ahead in the coming weeks and months’, and another source added that while there had been ‘some pushback’ from members of parliament it was not the majority.
It was unclear last night how the plans would now progress, as both sources said there are no plans for a referendum, which would be required under Jamaica’s constitution and makes the move more complicated than in smaller Barbados – which was able to make the change via an act of parliament.
The latest comments came despite William and Kate being greeted by cheers during their visit to Trench Town to greet young footballers and the Jamaican bobsleigh team, who finished 28th in the recent Winter Olympics.
Following their trip, the royal couple posted on their official Twitter account: ‘What a incredible day at Trench Town – the birthplace of reggae music in the heart of Kingston.’
They were earlier met by dignitaries and members of the military as they touched down at a windy Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, with Kate donning the yellow of the country’s flag.
The Jamaican flag and the Royal Ensign also hung from the cockpit window as the Cambridges walked down the stairs of the RAF Voyager aircraft.
While the duke took the salute from a guard of honour formed by Jamaica Defence Force troops, the duchess stood nearby under a marquee that shook in the wind as she held onto the hem of her yellow maxi-gown.
Kate was pictured smiling as she stood next to Jamaica’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson-Smith and Jamaican politician and former Miss World Lisa Hanna at the official welcoming.
The royal visits to Caribbean nations are seen as an effort to try and dissuade other ex-British colonies – including Belize and The Bahamas – from following in Barbados’ example of removing the Queen as their head of state.
The couple, though, were kept well away from protestors outside the British High Commission building as they arrived for an official meeting with the Governor General of Jamaica Patrick Allen shortly after touching down on the Caribbean island.
Jamaican human rights advocate Opal Adisa organised a protest outside the premises hours before their arrival amid calls for the monarchy to pay reparations for slavery and human rights abuses.
The Bahamas National Reparations Committee also released a statement calling for a ‘full and formal apology’, adding: ‘The time is now for reparations.’
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shake hands with locals during a visit Trench Town, the birthplace of reggae in Kingston, Jamaica, on the fourth day of their Caribbean tour
The couple, though, were kept well away from protestors outside the British High Commission building (above) as they arrived for an official meeting with the Governor General of Jamaica Patrick Allen
Queen Elizabeth visits Sam Sharpe Square on February 20, 2002, while on a visit to Montego Bay in Jamaica
Prince William and Kate, Duchess of Cambridge, leave the RAF Voyager aircraft at Norman Manley International Airport as they continue their tour of the Caribbean
Kate, pictured in a different outfit to the yellow dress she wore arriving in the country, walks into Trench Town in a multi-coloured outfit
The Duchess of Cambridge waves to local residents in Trench Town during the fourth day of the royal couple’s tour of the Caribbean
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson-Smith and Jamaican politician and former Miss World Lisa Hanna stand together at the airport for the royal couple’s official welcome
William and Kate arrive for an official meeting with the Governor General of Jamaica shortly after leaving the airport on Tuesday
Prince William at the Governor Generals in Kingston at the British High Commission. The couple were kept well away from protestors outside
Kate smiles as she sits during an official meeting with the Governor General of Jamaica shortly after touching down on the Caribbean island
William and Kate pictured during an official meeting with Governor General Patrick Allen, who represents the British crown in Jamaica
Prince William pictured giving a medal to Lady Allen, wife of the Governor General of Jamaica Sir Patrick Allen, during a meeting at the British High Commission on Tuesday
Prince William during a visit with the Governor General of Jamaica Sir Patrick Allen and wife Lady Allen at Kings House in Kingston
The government last year announced plans to ask Britain for compensation for forcibly transporting an estimated 600,000 Africans to work on sugar cane and banana plantations that created fortunes for British slave holders.
Jamaica lawmaker Mike Henry has proposed reparations package of £7.6billion ($10 billion).
He has said the figure is derived from a £20million payment the UK government made in 1837 to compensate slave owners in British colonies for the emancipation of enslaved people following the 1833 abolition of slavery.
Anti-colonial sentiment has been growing across the Caribbean against the background of the Black Lives Matter movement, which has inspired many around the globe to campaign for equality.
Protesters gathered outside the British High Commission in Jamaican capital Kingston, with one placard held by a little girl reading: ‘Kings, Queens and Princesses and Princes belong in fairytales not in Jamaica!’
A royal source said the duke was aware of the protests and was expected to acknowledge the issue of slavery in a speech on Wednesday night during a dinner hosted by the Governor General of Jamaica.
The couple were the subject of protests in Belize, the first stop of their Caribbean tour, with opposition to a royal tour of a chocolate farm forcing the event to be cancelled and hastily arranged at another site.
Mr Golding has been invited to a royal event in his St Andrew South constituency and the Governor Generals’ dinner where William will give his speech.
Raheem Sterling is seen playing football with local players ahead of the arrival of William and Kate in Trench Town, Kingston
Raheem Sterling speaks with children during a visit to Trench Town, the birthplace of Reggae music, on day four of the Platinum Jubilee Royal Tour
The footballer spoke with local residents and children as he played football ahead of the arrival of the royal couple
Raheem Sterling looks on while talking with people waiting for the arrival of Prince William and Kate in Trench Town, Jamaica
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge travel to Trench Town, where they meet England and Man City star, Raheem Sterling and also join some young football players
Manchester City’s Raheem Sterling with young footballers in Trench Town, Kingston, ahead of a visit from the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
Locals gather outside a fence awaiting the arrival of William and Kate in Trench Town – the birthplace of reggae music
Members of the local community jostle for a viewpoint ahead of the arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Trenchtown in Kingston, Jamaica
People wait for the eagerly arrival of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Trench Town on Tuesday as part of their Caribbean tour
People calling for slavery reparations, protest outside the entrance of the British High Commission during the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
People calling for slavery reparations protest outside the entrance of the British High Commission during the royal couple’s visit
Aston Villa’s Leon Bailey ahead of the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to meet young footballers during a visit to Trenchtown in Kingston
Members of the Jamaican bobsleigh team wait ahead of the arrival of the royal couple in Trench Town, Kingston, on Tuesday
Members of the community at Trench Town, where the royal couple will meet England and Man City star Raheem Sterling and also join some young football players
Kate smiles as she speaks with former Miss World during day four of her and William’s tour of the Caribbean
Minister of Foreign Affairs in Jamaica Senator Kamina Johnson Smith (L) stands with Prince William and Kate as they are greeted by guests upon arrival
Kate is greeted by government officials upon arriving at the Norman Manley International Airport
Kate smiled as she wore a dress in the colour of Jamaican yellow with a white clutch bag and heels shortly after departing the aircraft
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, walks away from the royal couple’s aircraft shortly after touching down at the airport in the country’s capital
Kate wore a yellow dress as she bid to impress the Caribbean island ahead of a two-day tour before the couple fly to the Bahamas on Thursday
Flags are shown hanging out of the RAF Voyager aircraft’s cockpit window as William and Kate descend the stairs to be greeted by dignitaries
Prince WIlliam and Kate greet dignitaries after exiting their aircraft at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Jamaica
The couple were pictured smiling as they were met by dignitaries and a red carpet at their airport ahead of a two-day tour of the island
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas on behalf the Queen, who is celebrating her Platinum Jubilee
Kate pictured alongside dignitaries at the airport today as the royal couple were met by members of the military after touching down
Kate laughs with dignitaries during the the official arrival at Norman Manley International Airport today
The Duchess of Cambridge (pictured) arrives at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Jamaica, on day four of their tour of the Caribbean
Kate (pictured) wore a yellow dress as she touched down at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston ahead of a two-day tour of Jamaica
Kate was all smiles as she wore a yellow dress with white earrings as the royal couple began a two-day tour of Jamaica on Tuesday
The Jamaican flag and Royal Ensign hang out the window of the cockpit as the royal couple arrive in Jamaica on Tuesday
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge pictured on the steps of their plane after landing in Jamaica ahead of the latest leg of their royal tour
Prince William greets members of the military shortly after arriving in Jamaica ahead of a two-day tour of the Caribbean island
The royal couple were greeted with a military guard of honour at Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport on Tuesday
The royal couple wore a mask as they entered via a red carpet after travelling from Norman Manley International Airport
The Duke of Cambridge arrives at Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston, Jamaica, on day four of their tour of the Caribbean on behalf of the Queen to mark her Platinum Jubilee
Prince William speaks with members of the military shortly after landing in Jamaica ahead of a two-day tour of the Caribbean island
Prince William and a member of the military at the official welcoming at Norman Manley International Airport
Prince William stands as he and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge continue their tour of the Caribbean
Protestors outside the British High Commission in the island nation’s capital Kingston on Tuesday held placards calling for the royals to apologise
William speaks with members of the military in a guard of honour after landing in Jamaica as part of a tour of the Caribbean
He told The Gleaner, a national Jamaican newspaper: ‘I would hope that I get the opportunity during the events that I will be attending to have that dialogue with them and to bring it to their attention in a courteous and respectful way that this is the view held by many Jamaicans.’
The leader of the People’s National Party added: ‘And that I think it would be helpful both to the Royal family and Jamaica for them to consider this as a means of starting to move forward to a new future.’
The Prince of Wales addressed the ‘appalling atrocity of slavery’, describing it as something ‘which forever stains our history’ last November when he attended the ceremony marking Barbados’ historic transition to a republic.
The British royal family were involved in the transportation and selling of people for profit for centuries with Elizabeth I becoming involved in the lucrative dealings of John Hawkins, one of Britain’s first slave traders in the 16th century.
When his first adventure proved successful and his ships returned laden with goods she supported his future expeditions by providing vessels to carry the human cargo.
The connections between the royal family and slavery continued with Charles II who encouraged the expansion of the slave trade.
He granted a charter to a group of men, the Royal Adventurers, who later became the Royal African Company and the monarch and the Duke of York invested their private funds in the venture.
Prince William and Kate are seen at Philip S. W Goldson International Airport as they depart Belize and board a flight to Jamaica during their tour of the Caribbean
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge ahead of boarding a plane departing from during two-day visit on their tour of the Caribbean on behalf of the Queen to mark her Platinum Jubilee
As the country marks its 60th anniversary of independence, locals were making their voices heard as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge embarked on a series of outings in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee (pictured: protest in Kingston today)
A handout photo issued by Advocates Network, who have organised a protest outside the British High Commission in Kingston, Jamaica, demanding reparations from the Royal Family on Prince William and Kate’s tour
Two protesters are seen holding up signs with one addressed to the Queen, Prince Charles and William, reading ‘the time for taking from us is over, yours truly, Jamaica’ outside the British High Commission in Kingston, Jamaica
Ms Adisa, a retired professor in her 60s, said: ‘Kate and William are beneficiaries, so they are, in fact, complicit because they are positioned to benefit specifically from our ancestors, and we’re not benefitting from our ancestors.
‘The luxury and the lifestyle that they have had and that they continue to have, traipsing all over the world for free with no expense, that is a result of my great, great grandmother and grandfather, their blood and tears and sweat.’
She joined calls for an apology, saying the monarchy should provide ‘economic social reparation’, such as ‘building us proper hospitals, providing and making sure that our children are educated through college level, and making sure land is equally distributed’.
Ms Adisa said an apology would be the ‘first step towards healing and reconciliation’.
She continued: ‘You know, we don’t have anything personally against Kate and Prince William, and even the Queen, for that matter, but we’re simply saying you’ve done wrong, and it is way past time that you admit that you’ve done wrong and when you do, redressing it.
‘The fact that our government is spending money to help provide security and finance for the duke and duchess, who are wealthy, is outrageous, it’s criminal.
‘Because the Caribbean is fed up, the same thing happened in Belize. We’re just saying enough is enough, we’ve been quiet, we have been nice.
‘Enough is enough, let’s deal with this racism and this discrimination.’
The protest began ahead of the Cambridges’ arrival in Jamaica on Tuesday, where they will stay until Thursday when they depart for the Bahamas.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at a reception hosted by the Governor General of Belize at Cahal Pech yesterday
William and Kate yesterday at the Mayan ruins at Cahal Pech in Belize, hosted by Belize’s Governor General Froyla Tzalam
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge dressed to impress at a reception hosted by the Governor General of Belize yesterday
The Duchess of Cambridge speaks with guests as she attends a special reception at the Mayan ruins at Cahal Pech yesterday
The open letter, quoted by The Independent newspaper, says: ‘We note with great concern your visit to our country Jamaica, during a period when we are still in the throes of a global pandemic and bracing for the full impact of another global crisis associated with the Russian/Ukraine war.
‘Many Jamaicans are unaware of your visit as they struggle to cope with the horrendous fallout of the Covid-19 pandemic, exacerbated by pre-existing social and economic hardships inherited from our colonial past.
‘We also note that your visit is part of the celebrations to mark the 70th Anniversary (Platinum Jubilee) of the coronation of your grandmother – and the 60th Anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence.
‘We see no reason to celebrate 70 years of the ascension of your grandmother to the British throne because we believe her leadership, and that of her predecessors, have perpetuated the greatest human rights tragedy in the history of humankind.’
Also today, dancehall musician Beenie Man – real name Anthony Moses Davis – said Jamaicans do not want Prince William to visit because they are still ‘controlled by the British’ and the royals are ‘not doing anything for us’.
The Jamaican artist told ITV’s Good Morning Britain: ‘We are just here, controlled by the British, ruled by the British law when you go in the court, it’s all about the Queen and the Queen serve and the Queen this and that.
The Duchess of Cambridge drinks water from a vine at the British Army Training Support Unit (BATSUB) in Belize yesterday
The Duchess of Cambridge was pictured learning tropical forest survival techniques with the Duke in Belize yesterday
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visit the British Army Training Support Unit (BATSUB) in Belize yesterday
The Duke and Duchess visit the British Army Training Support Unit (BATSUB) in Belize yesterday
The couple were taught how to survive, live and fight in the jungle environment by troops in Belize yesterday
‘But what are they doing for Jamaica? They’re not doing anything for us. If Harry was coming people would react different, people are going to meet Harry, but William… we don’t want to see that.’
The Cambridges will stay in Jamaica until Thursday when they depart for the Bahamas. Opposition in Jamaica comes after the couple’s tour began in controversial circumstances in Belize.
Kate and William were forced to pull out of their first major engagement following protests from villagers who were angry at being told they had to tidy up their football field to allow the couple’s helicopter to land in it so they could visit a nearby cocoa farm. They accused the visit of perpetuating colonialism.
The engagement was replaced with a visit to a chocolate producer before the royals travelled to the cultural centre of the Garifuna community in Hopkins.
The demonstrators are involved in a long-running row with state officials over what they say was communal land taken from them during the British colonial era which has now been bought by a conservation charity that William is patron of.
It comes as William said yesterday that the ‘vigilance’ needed to safeguard democracy was being tested in Ukraine as he reiterated his pledge to ‘stand with them in solidarity’.
Kate yesterday in Hopkins, a village on the coast which is considered to be cultural centre of the Garifuna community in Belize
The Duke of Cambridge dances during a traditional Garifuna festival in Belize yesterday during the tour of the country
William quickly got his wife involved in the dancing in Belize as bystanders gathered to take pictures of the royal couple
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge showed off their incredible dance moves much to the delight of Belize crowds yesterday
Prince William was seen in hysterics as he tried to show off his moves whilst dancing during a Garifuna festival yesterday
‘It is always dangerous, however, to be complacent and to assume that democratic values will look after themselves. Vigilance in protecting them is needed’.’
In his speech delivered in the early hours, he added: ‘Her Majesty went on to say that ‘Most of all, democracy is safe-guarded by teamwork – the individual wills of all citizens, each pulling together towards the same objective’.
‘Sadly, elsewhere in the world, that vigilance is being tested today in Ukraine. Belize has joined many others in condemning the invasion and standing up for the principles of international law, peace and security.
‘Today we think of those struggling in Ukraine and we stand with them in solidarity.’
William, the Prince of Wales and the Duchess of Cornwall have all spoken out in support of Ukraine in recent weeks, as the country battles Russian forces after President Vladimir Putin’s troops invaded the country almost four weeks ago.
Villagers in Indian Creek staged a protest over the visit of Prince William and Kate to Belize last Friday
The charm offensive in Belize got off to a rocky start last Friday when villagers in Indian Creek (pictured) staged a protest
The duke’s words of support came as his tour of Belize with the duchess drew to a close, and he quoted from the Queen’s 1994 address to the country’s parliament which highlighted how individuals needed to work together to safeguard freedoms.
And in a lighter moment the duke revealed his son Prince George keeps up with his parents’ international trips by sticking pins in a map.
Speaking in the shadow of the Maya ruins at Cahal Pech, near San Ignacio, at a reception hosted by the Governor General Froya Tzalam, William quoted from the Queen’s 1994 speech.
He told the guests: ‘She said ‘I am proud to associate myself with your determination that social justice and personal freedom should flourish under the rule of law.
The duke also passed on the ‘very warmest wishes from my grandmother, the Queen of Belize’, on the occasion of her Platinum Jubilee’.
Speaking about his son George during the reception held to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee, the duke said ‘We let them know where we are and he finds us on the map and puts a pin in it and shares with the others.’
The duchess wowed the guests wearing a stunning vibrant metallic pink dress designed by Vampire’s Wife with a Maya embroidered bag.
The couple met community leaders, well-known Belizeans, and members of Government, in the presence of the Prime Minister, Johnny Brienco.
In his speech William also highlighted Belize’s fight against Covid telling the guests: ‘The last two years of the Covid-19 pandemic have been hugely challenging but it is reassuring to have heard from so many people that things are on the up.’
Source: Daily Mail