Prince William and Kate Middleton have been forced to rethink the first stop on their Caribbean tour.
The couple embarked on the tour as part of Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee. They arrived in Belize on Saturday afternoon. The will remain in Belize, formerly known as British Honduras, until Tuesday morning when they move on to The Bahamas for a sailing regatta.
Belize became independent of the United Kingdom in 1981.
From Belize, the couple head to Jamaica for celebrations involving that country’s music and sporting legacy. The tour will last a total of eight days.
Prince William and Kate Middleton were supposed to visit a cacao farm on Sunday
Belize’s Channel 7 reported that the couple were due to visit a cacao farm on Sunday as their first stop. However, protests from the Indian Creek community have forced a rethink.
The issue stems from the royal’s support of the conservation group known as Fauna and Flora International who own land in the area. There is a land dispute between the group and the local community. BBC also reports that there was a dispute over where the royal helicopter was supposed to land, a local soccer field.
Sebastian Shol, the chairman of Indian Creek, told Channel 7, “We don’t want them to land in our land, that’s the message that we want to send, they could land anywhere but not in our land.” Community activists said that security forces have threatened locals against protesting the royal visit.
A royal spokesperson confirmed the cancelation to the BBC saying, “We can confirm that due to sensitive issues involving the community in Indian Creek, the visit has been moved to a different location – further details will be provided in due course.”
Reuters quoted a mechanic in Belize named Alan Mckoy who was not too excited by the royal visit. Mckoy said that he “couldn’t care less” about the visit saying, “They are no better than any of us.”
An entourage of 15 people are joining the royal couple on the tour
According to The Guardian, the royal couple is traveling with an entourage of 15 people on their trip. They include respective secretaries, a hair dresser, and press liaisons.
Speaking about the the Jamaican leg of the tour to The Guardian, British politician Patrick Vernon, who is the son of Jamaican immigrants, said, “Britain still has key legal and economic ties, which makes it difficult for a country like Jamaica to be truly independent. This year is an opportunity for people to reflect: do we want to be a republic, and what does that mean? If Jamaica decided it did, there would be a domino effect on the rest of the English-speaking Caribbean.”