Dozens of senior Jamaican officials are demanding slavery reparations ahead of a visit by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, amid growing scrutiny over the British Empire’s colonial ties.
A letter signed by 100 Jamaican leaders said the country sees “no reason” to celebrate the Queen’s 70 years on the throne because her leadership and her predecessors “perpetuated the greatest human rights tragedy in the history of humankind”.
The couple’s upcoming two-day trip to Jamaica has angered some who say they are still waiting for an apology and slavery reparations.
The couple are set to head to Jamaica for a two-day stay, as part of their tour in the Caribbean which started last Saturday.
They are expected to celebrate reggae legend Bob Marley’s legacy – which has angered some Jamaicans who say the singer also called for reparations.
“As a Rastafarian, Bob Marley embodied advocacy and is recognized globally for the principles of human rights, equality, reparations and repatriation,” stated the letter from the Jamaican leaders.
The group added that it is saddened that more progress hadn’t been made to mend the “burden of our colonial inheritance”.
Hundreds of thousands of African slaves toiled in Jamaica under more than 300 years of British rule and faced brutal conditions.
Protests in Belize
Prince William and Kate already faced opposition in Belize, where they were forced to cancel a visit to a cacao farm due to demonstrations staged by villagers who protested against their visit.
Residents of Indian Creek village reportedly voiced opposition to the royals’ visit due to a dispute involving a charity Prince William supports and plans to land the Cambridges’ helicopter on a local football pitch.
The villagers are also in a land dispute with a conservation group that is backed by the Royal Family.
Countries cutting ties with monarchy
The royals’ visit coincides with the Queen’s 70th year on the throne and aims to strengthen Britain’s ties with Commonwealth countries, despite debates over nations in the region’s relationship with the crown.
Last November, the eastern Caribbean island of Barbados voted to become a republic, 55 years after gaining independence from the UK.
As the Queen ceased to be the island’s monarch, she sent her good wishes to the republic which remains part of the Commonwealth Of Nations.