Prince Williams Says He Supports Caribbean Countries’ ‘Decisions About Your Future’



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Prince William on Friday expressed growing dissatisfaction with the Crown in the Caribbean and said he will support whatever a Commonwealth country decides about removing Queen Elizabeth as head of state.

“As Jamaica celebrates 60 years of independence this year and Belize 40 years of independence last year, let me say this: We proudly support and respect your decisions about your future,” the Duke of Cambridge said at a reception in the Bahamas on Friday, during the final leg of a royal journey to the Caribbean marked by anti-monarchy protests.

“Relationships evolve. Friendship continues,” he added.

The Duke’s comments are in line with Buckingham Palace’s typical responses when asked about the talks of various Commonwealth countries over whether or not to remove Queen Elizabeth as head of state and become a republic. The palace says it is a matter for the people of a particular country to decide.

On Thursday, Belize became the last country to begin the process of deciding whether to become a republic.

Henry Charles Usher, Belize’s minister of public service and constitutional and political reform, said the government has created the People’s Constitutional Commission, which aims to “consult nationwide about the ongoing decolonization process.”

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend a reception hosted by the Governor General at the Baha Mar Resort in Nassau, Bahamas, on March 25.

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“Madam Chairman, the decolonization process envelops the Caribbean,” Usher said Thursday via Loop News. “Maybe it’s time for Belize to take that next step toward truly owning our independence. But it’s a matter for the people of Belize to decide.”

Queen Elizabeth remains the constitutional monarch of Belize, a role considered both symbolic and ceremonial, according to the Royal Family’s website.

“She has a unique relationship with the Central American country,” the website adds. “In all her official duties relating to Belize, she speaks and acts as Queen of Belize, not Queen of the UK.”

Queen Elizabeth is represented by a Governor General in Belize – a position currently held by Froyla Tzalam – who handles day-to-day business there on behalf of the Queen.

Usher’s comments came just days after Prince William and Kate Middleton visited Belize on a royal tour to mark Queen Elizabeth’s platinum anniversary year. The couple attended a reception hosted by Tzalam while there.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge speak with Governor General of Belize Froyla Tzalam and her husband, Daniel Mendeza, at a special reception hosted by the Governor General to celebrate the Queen's platinum anniversary on March 21 in Cahal Pech, Belize .
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge speak with Governor General of Belize Froyla Tzalam and her husband, Daniel Mendeza, at a special reception hosted by the Governor General to celebrate the Queen’s platinum anniversary on March 21 in Cahal Pech, Belize .

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were greeted with protests in Belize, which continued during subsequent stops in Jamaica and the Bahamas, as organizations called on the royal family to recognize and apologize for their role in the slave trade, and pay reparations.

Talks about Caribbean countries removing the queen as head of state – while remaining part of the Commonwealth – are taking place four months after Barbados officially removed the queen as head of state and replaced the monarch with the country’s first president, Sandra Mason. Mason was previously governor general.

After decades of discussion, in a speech on behalf of Prime Minister Mia Mottley, Mason set the wheels in motion for Barbados to become a parliamentary republic in September 2020.

“The time has come to put our colonial past completely behind us,” Mason said at the time. “Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state.”

In December 2021, shortly after Barbados’ transition was completed, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness said there is “no doubt Jamaica must become a republic”.

Prince William and Kate Middleton meet Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Juliet Holness on March 23 at the Vale Royal, the official residence in Kingston, Jamaica.
Prince William and Kate Middleton meet Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness and Juliet Holness on March 23 at the Vale Royal, the official residence in Kingston, Jamaica.

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“We’ve put together a plan to get there in a way that’s meaningful and substantial in function and form,” Holness said via Loop Jamaica News. “That’s what we’re going to do.”

He later confirmed his intentions this week during a personal visit with Prince William and Kate Middleton.

“Jamaica, as you would see, is a country that is very proud of our history and very proud of what we have achieved,” he told the Cambridges during a courtesy call. “And we continue. And we intend to achieve our development goals in a short time and fulfill our true aspirations and destiny as an independent, developed, prosperous country.”

Holiness said on Twitter later that day, as Jamaica approaches its 60th anniversary of independence on August 6, “it is inevitable that we will become a republic in fulfillment of the will of the people of Jamaica.”

There has been a growing sense of urgency in countries’ talks about removing the Queen as head of state, even though her reign is not over.

Following the royal family’s silence on Black Lives Matter and the mishandling of the Windrush scandal – and given the success of Barbados – many people, politicians and opinion leaders feel now is the right time to act.

Lisa Hanna, a four-year member of Jamaica’s parliament and shadow minister of foreign affairs and trade, told HuffPost by phone on Wednesday that republic talks in Jamaica are now “on”very, very different’ than before.

I think it’s different because of the reinforcement from many different quarters and the need for political leaders to recognize the importance of listening to the people in your country. state, having this kind of reparations and justice must be taken seriously – the Caribbean cannot do it alone. Jamaica cannot do it alone.”

“We need the UK to take us seriously on this issue,” Hanna said, adding later: “We need people, we need politicians, we need leaders, we need everyone who working together to take this matter seriously. There is a real urgency in the west, and it takes a certain amount of courage and political courage to really stand up and advocate for this issue.”

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