Cayman Islands, Caribbeanand International News
Tuesday, Sep 26, 2023

Jamaica’s PM tells Kate and William his country is ‘moving on’

Royal couple’s visit met with growing republican sentiment and pressure for reparations over slavery

Jamaica’s prime minister has told the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge that his country is “moving on” and intends to become a republic.

The royals’ arrival in Jamaica on Tuesday coincided with a much-publicised demonstration urging the monarchy to pay reparations for slavery, and calls from politicians for the country to become a republic.

The couple’s visit to Jamaica has given the nation the opportunity to address “unresolved” issues, the prime minister, Andrew Holness, told them. During an official welcome, Holness said: “There are issues here which are, as you would know, unresolved but your presence gives an opportunity for those issues to be placed in context, put front and centre and to be addressed in as best [a way] as we can.

“Jamaica is as you would see a country that is very proud of our history and very proud of what we have achieved. We are moving on and we intend to attain in short order … our goals and fulfil our true ambitions as an independent, developed, prosperous country.”

After the decision by Barbados to remove the Queen as head of state, Holness said last December that “there is no question that Jamaica has to become a republic”. There has been bipartisan support for the move for years and the campaign to change Jamaica’s status is increasingly a mainstream position.

Amid reports that a senior official has already been appointed to oversee the transition to a republic, polling experts say Jamaican public opinion has moved steadily in favour of becoming a republic over the past decade, fuelled by increasing discussion of the negative legacy of colonialism and by interest in the Black Lives Matter movement.

Lisa Hanna, Jamaican’s opposition spokesperson on foreign affairs, said the last three years had led to a generation of Caribbean people who are “more self reflective, more socially conscious”, and the Windrush scandal was contributing to this. Watching how “our grandparents and great-grandparents” were being treated “gave us a sense of questioning and reckoning”, Hanna said. “It’s time we look at how we’ve given so much of ourselves to Great Britain.”

Political pollster Don Anderson said only around 40% of Jamaicans supported separation from the monarchy in 2011, but in 2020 this had increased to 62%. “I’d be surprised if that number isn’t closer now to 70%, because of the increased calls for Jamaica to follow Barbados in becoming a republic,” he said. “There has also been an increased awareness of the atrocities of colonialism. I don’t think it was on people’s radar in the same way 10 years ago. I believe the government will be forced to respond to this very soon.”

Campaigners this week published a document listing 60 reasons why the British government and royals should apologise to the Jamaican people and offer reparations, citing human trafficking and the transatlantic slave trade and the destruction of Jamaica’s natural environment by establishing a plantation system.

Demonstrations greeted William and Kate in Kingston, Jamaica, demanding the monarchy apologise for its role in the slave trade.

An open letter addressed to Prince William and Kate, signed by 100 campaigners, which was delivered to the British high commission on Tuesday, noted that the Queen had “done nothing to redress or atone for the suffering of our ancestors that took place during her reign and during the entire period of British trafficking of Africans, enslavement and colonisation”.

“You, who may one day lead the British monarchy, are direct beneficiaries of the wealth accumulated by the royal family over centuries, including that stemming from the trafficking and enslavement of Africans,” the letter said. “We urge you to start with an apology and recognition of the need for atonement and reparations.”

Economics professor Rosalea Hamilton, who drafted the letter, said the royal visit was inadvertently “fast-tracking” the campaign to move to a republic. If Prince William failed to apologise and discuss reparations during the visit, the campaign would “surge ahead” and the move to a republic would become an inevitability, she said.

Lawyer Jennifer Housen said people in Jamaica were increasingly wondering what the benefit was of continued ties with the UK, given that the UK requires Jamaican nationals to apply for visas before visiting (and makes these visas hard to secure) and that economic links were no longer significant. “How special are we when our nationals need a visa even to come to Britain? People feel the relationship is pointless.”

The parallel campaign for payment of reparations for slavery from the British government has intensified in the past year. Culture minister Olivia Grange said this week: “Reparations will happen. It is about regaining our respect. It has to do with our dignity. It has to do with ensuring that the injustices that were meted out to our enslaved ancestors are corrected. We are on a mission, we have to achieve that goal.”

Earlier this year, the Jamaican prime minister established a new ministry responsible for constitutional reform, having previously directed then attorney general Marlene Malahoo Forte to research the removal of the Queen as head of state.

Philip Murphy, an expert on Commonwealth history and author of Monarchy and the End of Empire, said the royal family’s decision to visit Jamaica was having the unintended consequence of strengthening campaigns for Jamaica to drop its ties with the British monarchy. “Campaigners might not have got that kind of international attention without the presence of William and Kate. We seem to be reaching a tipping point where events that are clearly choreographed by the British government as a sort of charm offensive, banging the drum for global Britain, become a kind of shitstorm of controversy,” he said.


Related Articles

Paper straws found to contain long-lasting and potentially toxic chemicals - study
FTX's Bankman-Fried headed for jail after judge revokes bail
Blackrock gets half a trillion dollar deal to rebuild Ukraine
Israel: Unprecedented Civil Disobedience Looms as IDF Reservists Protest Judiciary Reform
America's First New Nuclear Reactor in Nearly Seven Years Begins Operations
Southeast Asia moves closer to economic unity with new regional payments system
Today Hunter Biden’s best friend and business associate, Devon Archer, testified that Joe Biden met in Georgetown with Russian Moscow Mayor's Wife Yelena Baturina who later paid Hunter Biden $3.5 million in so called “consulting fees”
Singapore Carries Out First Execution of a Woman in Two Decades Amid Capital Punishment Debate
Google testing journalism AI. We are doing it already 2 years, and without Google biased propoganda and manipulated censorship
Unlike illegal imigrants coming by boats - US Citizens Will Need Visa To Travel To Europe in 2024
Musk announces Twitter name and logo change to X.com
The politician and the journalist lost control and started fighting on live broadcast.
The future of sports
Unveiling the Black Hole: The Mysterious Fate of EU's Aid to Ukraine
Farewell to a Music Titan: Tony Bennett, Renowned Jazz and Pop Vocalist, Passes Away at 96
Alarming Behavior Among Florida's Sharks Raises Concerns Over Possible Cocaine Exposure
Transgender Exclusion in Miss Italy Stirs Controversy Amidst Changing Global Beauty Pageant Landscape
Joe Biden admitted, in his own words, that he delivered what he promised in exchange for the $10 million bribe he received from the Ukraine Oil Company.
TikTok Takes On Spotify And Apple, Launches Own Music Service
Global Trend: Using Anti-Fake News Laws as Censorship Tools - A Deep Dive into Tunisia's Scenario
Arresting Putin During South African Visit Would Equate to War Declaration, Asserts President Ramaphosa
Hacktivist Collective Anonymous Launches 'Project Disclosure' to Unearth Information on UFOs and ETIs
Typo sends millions of US military emails to Russian ally Mali
Server Arrested For Theft After Refusing To Pay A Table's $100 Restaurant Bill When They Dined & Dashed
The Changing Face of Europe: How Mass Migration is Reshaping the Political Landscape
China Urges EU to Clarify Strategic Partnership Amid Trade Tensions
Europe is boiling: Extreme Weather Conditions Prevail Across the Continent
The Last Pour: Anchor Brewing, America's Pioneer Craft Brewer, Closes After 127 Years
Democracy not: EU's Digital Commissioner Considers Shutting Down Social Media Platforms Amid Social Unrest
Sarah Silverman and Renowned Authors Lodge Copyright Infringement Case Against OpenAI and Meta
Italian Court's Controversial Ruling on Sexual Harassment Ignites Uproar
Why Do Tech Executives Support Kennedy Jr.?
The New York Times Announces Closure of its Sports Section in Favor of The Athletic
BBC Anchor Huw Edwards Hospitalized Amid Child Sex Abuse Allegations, Family Confirms
Florida Attorney General requests Meta CEO's testimony on company's platforms' alleged facilitation of illicit activities
The Distorted Mirror of actual approval ratings: Examining the True Threat to Democracy Beyond the Persona of Putin
40,000 child slaves in Congo are forced to work in cobalt mines so we can drive electric cars.
BBC Personalities Rebuke Accusations Amidst Scandal Involving Teen Exploitation
A Swift Disappointment: Why Is Taylor Swift Bypassing Canada on Her Global Tour?
Historic Moment: Edgars Rinkevics, EU's First Openly Gay Head of State, Takes Office as Latvia's President
Bye bye democracy, human rights, freedom: French Cops Can Now Secretly Activate Phone Cameras, Microphones And GPS To Spy On Citizens
The Poor Man With Money, Mark Zuckerberg, Unveils Twitter Replica with Heavy-Handed Censorship: A New Low in Innovation?
Unilever Plummets in a $2.5 Billion Free Fall, to begin with: A Reckoning for Misuse of Corporate Power Against National Interest
Beyond the Blame Game: The Need for Nuanced Perspectives on America's Complex Reality
Twitter Targets Meta: A Tangle of Trade Secrets and Copycat Culture
The Double-Edged Sword of AI: AI is linked to layoffs in industry that created it
US Sanctions on China's Chip Industry Backfire, Prompting Self-Inflicted Blowback
Meta Copy Twitter with New App, Threads
The New French Revolution
BlackRock Bitcoin ETF Application Refiled, Naming Coinbase as ‘Surveillance-Sharing’ Partner