Royal visitors not met with open arms

People protesting the royal visit to Jamaica
People protesting the royal visit to Jamaica (Photo credit: Twitter (@InvestMonitorAI))

Protesters took to the streets outside of the British Royal Commission last Tuesday demanding an apology and reparations for slavery. The protest was in response to the visit of Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge to the island for the 70th anniversary of the reign of Queen Elizabeth II. 

Their visit was a part of their week-long tour of the Caribbean. The tour kicked off with visiting Belize, then Jamaica followed by The Bahamas. Their visit to Belize was also met with some opposition from locals resulting in the cancellation of one of their royal engagements.

Many Jamaicans feel as that the royals should not be welcomed on the island especially because there has never been an official apology from the monarchy for slavery and calls for reparations have long since been ignored. Candice Allen does not think the protest was justified because our generation is no longer enslaved. “Yeah, we’re angry that we were colonised, but we didn’t experience it firsthand, and they weren’t the ones who colonised us. I get what it represents, but a nuh fi dem fault,” Allen said. 



During a state dinner hosted by Governor General, Sir Patrick Allen last Wednesday, Prince William described slavery as an “atrocity” and even thanked Jamaicans for their contributions to Britain. “I strongly agree with my father, the Prince of Wales, who said in Barbados last year that the appalling atrocity of slavery forever stains our history. I want to express my profound sorrow,” said Prince William. “Slavery was abhorrent, and it should never have happened. While the pain runs deep, Jamaica continues to forge its future with determination, courage and fortitude. The strength and shared sense of purpose of the Jamaican people, represented in your flag and motto, celebrate an invincible spirit.”

“It is this same spirit that spurred on the Windrush generation, who came to the United Kingdom to help rebuild after the Second World War. We are forever grateful for the immense contribution that this generation and their descendants have made to British life, which continues to enrich and improve our society,” he concluded.

When asked how she felt about the apology, Candice Allen said, “I appreciated that he at least apologized. Dunno how heartfelt it was, but the fact is that he acknowledged how awful slavery was and he wasn’t involved in it any way. I appreciated him apologizing for someone else’s wrongdoings.”

Last year, more calls for Jamaica to become a Republic were made following Barbados’ abandonment of the monarchy. Prime Minister, Andrew Holness told the royals during their visit that Jamaica will be “moving on” from its ties with old colonial power.

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