Dozens of well-known leaders in Jamaica, including professors and politicians, are demanding an apology and reparations for slavery as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge prepare for a trip to the former British colony.
The group rejects the visit of Prince William and Kate scheduled for Tuesday, part of a larger trip to the Caribbean region which coincides with the 60th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence and the 70th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation Elizabeth II.
“We see no reason to celebrate 70 years since your grandmother’s ascension to the British throne as her leadership and that of her predecessors perpetuated the greatest human rights tragedy in the history of the UK. humanity,” read a letter published Sunday ahead of the couple’s visit and signed by 100 Jamaican leaders.
“We will not participate in your platinum jubilee celebration!”
Full open letter to Prince William and Kate of the Jamaica Lawyers Network ahead of the reparations protest at the British High Commission in Kingston tomorrow.#RoyalTourCaribbean https://t.co/svLXi37Ntf pic.twitter.com/6A8Ar3mIL3
The week-long royal tour of Central America and the Caribbean which began on Saturday was carried out at the request of the Queen, who is William’s grandmother. The trip aims to strengthen Britain’s ties with Commonwealth countries, but it gets off to a bad start and comes as some countries consider cutting ties with the monarchy, as the island of Barbados did in the Eastern Caribbean in November.
Local opposition forced the royal couple to cancel a visit to a cocoa farm in Belize that was scheduled for Saturday, while the upcoming trip to Jamaica has angered some who say they are still awaiting apologies and reparations for slavery.
Jamaican lawmaker Mike Henry, who has long led an effort to secure reparations he estimates at more than 7 billion pounds, told The Associated Press in a phone interview that an apology is just the first step. for what he described as “the abuse of human life”. and the work.”
“An apology really admits there is some guilt,” he said.
Hundreds of thousands of enslaved Africans worked in Jamaica under more than 300 years of British rule and faced brutal conditions. There were many bloody rebellions, with a woman called “Queen Nanny” leading a group of formerly enslaved Africans known as Jamaican Maroons, whose guerrillas became famous and defeated the forces British. “Queen Nanny” remains the only female of Jamaica’s eight national heroes.
During their two-day stay in Jamaica, Prince William and Kate are expected to celebrate the legacy of Bob Marley, a decision that has also irked some Jamaicans.
“As a Rastafarian, Bob Marley embodied advocacy and is globally recognized for the principles of human rights, equality, reparations and repatriation,” reads the letter from those seeking an apology.
The band said they would celebrate 60 years of freedom from Britain, adding they are saddened ‘there has not been more progress given the weight of our colonial heritage Nevertheless, we celebrate the many achievements of great Jamaicans who rejected negative ideas and colonial self-concepts and who confidently succeeded against enormous odds.We will also remember and celebrate our freedom fighters.