Jamaicans reject the UK's royal visit and demand reparations for slavery

As the Duke and Duchess prepare to travel to Jamaica, dozens of prominent Jamaican leaders including politicians and professors are calling for an apology and reparations for slavery.

26 March 2022 Saturday 12:48
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Jamaicans reject the UK's royal visit and demand reparations for slavery

They are refusing to accept the Tuesday visit of Kate and Prince William, which is part of a larger trip in the Caribbean that coincides with the 60th Anniversary of Jamaica's Independence and the 70th Anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation.

"We see no reason not to celebrate 70 years since the ascension to the British throne of your grandmother because her leadership, along with that of her predecessors have perpetuated the worst human rights tragedy in human history," said a letter published by 100 Jamaican leaders Sunday before the couple visited.

The queen, William's grandmother, arranged for a week-long royal tour of Central America & the Caribbean. It began Saturday. Although the trip is intended to strengthen Britain's relations with Commonwealth countries, it has had a rough start. Some countries are considering cutting ties to Britain's monarchy in the same way that Barbados in November cut ties to the monarchy.

The royal couple was forced to cancel their Saturday visit to Belize's cacao farm. Some have also protested the planned trip to Jamaica, saying they still need to be compensated for slavery and an apology.

Mike Henry, a Jamaican lawmaker, has been leading an effort to get reparations. He estimates that they are more than 7 Billion pounds. Henry told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that an apology was only the first step in what he called "abuses of human life" and labor.

He said, "An apology truly admits there is some guilt."

Under more than 300 years British rule, hundreds of thousands of African slaves worked in Jamaica and endured brutal conditions. Many bloody rebellions took place, with Queen Nanny leading a group formerly enslaved Africans called Jamaican Maroons. Their guerrilla warfare earned them renown and damaged British forces. "Queen Nanny", the only female among Jamaica's eight national heroes, is still in place.

Prince William and Kate will be celebrating Bob Marley's legacy in Jamaica during their two-day visit. This move has angered some Jamaicans.

The letter from those seeking an apology stated that Bob Marley, a Rastafarian and advocate, was recognized worldwide for his principles of human rights and equality.

The group stated that it would be celebrating 60 Years of Freedom from Britain and that it was saddened that "more progress has not been made due to the burden of our colonial heritage." We celebrate the many accomplishments of great Jamaicans, who rejected colonial self-concepts. They also celebrated those who were self-confident and fought against all odds. We will also remember our freedom fighters.

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