The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge left Belize to head for Jamaica today on behalf of Queen Elizabeth for her Platinum Jubilee, but not everyone is looking forward to their arrival.
The Advocates Network, a human rights group comprised of Jamaican politicians, business leaders, doctors, and musicians, has requested the British monarch apologize for colonialism and pay for slavery reparations.
In an open letter, they write that they are concerned with their visit to Jamaica “during a period when we are still in the throes of a global pandemic and bracing for the full impact of another global crisis associated with the Russian/Ukraine war.”
The letter continued, “We see no reason to celebrate 70 years of the ascension of your grandmother to the British throne because her leadership, and that of her predecessors, has perpetuated the greatest human rights tragedy in the history of humankind.”
The group planned to stage a protest that coincided with William and Kate’s arrival to Jamaica.
Jamaican protestors make it clear that Prince William and Kate Middleton are not welcome in Jamaica
The Advocates Network’s concerns go beyond an unreceived apology.
The Guardian reports that they do want an apology for “British crimes against humanity, including but not limited to the exploitation of the indigenous people of Jamaica, the transatlantic trafficking of Africans, the enslavement of Africans, indentureship and [colonialization],” but they also want to make it clear that they are fine as an independent nation and they don’t need the Queen or her family.
Jamaica became independent on August 6, 1962, and its current prime minister is Andrew Holness, but the people are still largely impacted by the royal family and centuries of colonialization. Despite their granted independence, they stayed as part of the Commonwealth of Nations, so Queen Elizabeth is still their head of state.
They believe that William and Kate’s visit is meant to persuade other Caribbean nations to keep the Queen as head of state, rather than removing her as Barbados has.
The letter advises the two that there is a need for atonement and reparations for the crimes that have been committed against the people of Jamaica and the Caribbean.
They expressed their disdain for the “offensive and insensitive” statements of past prime minister David Cameron, who urged the Jamaican people to “move on from this painful legacy” and went on to give high praise to British leadership for eventually ending the “horrors of slavery,” despite the fact that it was British leadership who enabled slavery for generations.
Jamaican protestors say Queen Elizabeth has done nothing to help during her 70 years in power
Not only are the campaigners seeking apologies and reparations, but they expressed extreme dissatisfaction with the way Queen Elizabeth has handled, or rather not handled, atoning for British crimes.
They claim that the Queen has failed to “redress and atone for the suffering of our ancestors” during her 70 years as the Queen of England.
A local activist, Kay Osborne, said that she was joining the protest to fight for Jamaica to be a republic and hopes that the protest “loosens and removes the Queen’s gloved hands from around our necks so we can breathe.”
She made her stance very clear, saying, “We do not welcome Kate and William. We do not want them here. We reject the photo ops that will be staged here for the UK’s consumption.”
Despite many wonderful photos from their trip to Belize, William and Kate faced many struggles to get there, including canceling their first trip after local villagers pointed out several issues, including their helicopter’s landing site.
Many Caribbean experts have advised the royals to help Caribbean nations cut ties with the Queen and monarchy rather than try to get them to keep Queen Elizabeth as the head of state. Many believe keeping the Queen as head of state prevents actual independence.