Prince William and Kate: Jamaicans avoid royal visit

SAN JUAN, PUERTO RICO — Dozens of well-known leaders in Jamaica, including professors and politicians, demand apologies and restoration of slavery as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge prepare for a trip to the former British colony.

The group has rejected Prince William and Kate’s visit scheduled for Tuesday as part of a larger trip to the Caribbean to coincide with the 60th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence and the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.

We see no reason to celebrate 70 years of your grandmother’s ascension to the British throne, as her leadership, and that of her predecessors, perpetuated the greatest human rights tragedy in human history. in a letter delivered on Sunday. visit of the couple and signed by 100 Jamaican leaders.

The week-long royal tour of Central America and the Caribbean that began Saturday was commissioned by the Queen, William’s grandmother. The trip is designed to strengthen Britain’s ties with Commonwealth countries, but the start is shaky and some countries are considering severing ties with the monarchy, as the eastern Caribbean island of Barbados did in November.

Local opposition forced the royal couple to cancel a visit to a cocoa plantation in Belize scheduled for Saturday, while the impending trip to Jamaica has angered some who say they are still waiting for an apology and slavery restoration.

Jamaican lawmaker Mike Henry, who has long been in charge of obtaining reparations he estimates at more than £7 billion, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that an apology is only the first step for what he described as “abuse of human lives”. and labor.”

“An apology really admits that there is some guilt,” he said.

Hundreds of thousands of African slaves toiled in Jamaica under more than 300 years of British rule and faced brutal conditions. There were numerous bloody revolts, with a woman called “Queen Nanny” leading a group of formerly enslaved Africans known as Jamaican Maroons whose guerrilla warfare became known and mistreated British troops. “Queen Nanny” remains the only woman of Jamaica’s eight national heroes.

During their two-day stay in Jamaica, Prince William and Kate are expected to celebrate Bob Marley’s legacy, a move that has also outraged some Jamaicans.

“As a Rastafarian, Bob Marley embodied advocacy and is recognized worldwide for the principles of human rights, equality, reparations and repatriation,” the letter reads from those who demanded apologies.

The group said it would celebrate 60 years of freedom from Britain, adding that it is saddened “that more progress has not been made given the burden of our colonial legacy. We nevertheless celebrate the many achievements of great Jamaicans who have faced negative, colonial self-concepts and who confidently succeeded against a huge opportunity. We will also remember and celebrate our freedom fighters.”

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