Jamaica demands reparations from the UK ahead of royal visit: Media
After the UK royal visit to Jamaica, the former colony is reportedly demanding payback and preparing to sever connetions with the monarchy.
Dozens of prominent Jamaicans have publicly refused a visit by Britain's Prince William and his wife, demanding an apology and compensation for slavery. An increasing number of people are considering severing connections with the monarchy entirely, as neighboring Caribbean island nation Barbados did last year, and insiders tell UK media that the process may have already started.
According to sources quoted by The Independent, the island nation is already in the process of removing the Queen as head of state, with a "senior individual inside the administration" tasked with transforming Jamaica into a republic.
Protests against the royal visit
Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the British High Commission building on Tuesday to see the royal couple, and an open letter from the Advocates Network, a coalition of Jamaican politicians, business leaders, singers, and other professionals, was also handed over to the High Commission. The missive cited 60 reasons why the British monarchy should recompense Jamaica to commemorate its 60th anniversary of independence, with reparations at the top of the list.
The group is seeking "economic social reparation," such as "building us proper hospitals, providing and ensuring that our children are educated through the college level, and ensuring land is equally distributed," according to human rights advocate Opal Adisa, a signatory to the letter, adding that an apology would be only the "first step towards healing and reconciliation."
Advocates Network clearly had enough of waiting
“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, have perpetuated the greatest human rights tragedy in the history of humankind,” the letter reads, calling for “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 colonization.”
On Saturday, Culture Minister Olivia 'Babsy' Grange addressed members of the Reparations Council, urging them to "pick up the pace" in establishing a "roadmap to compensation." Even the opposition party, according to reports, agrees that the monarchy should atone for the atrocities of slavery, albeit not everyone agrees on the idea of 'divorcing' from the monarchy.
In 1665, Jamaica became a British colony and over 3 million African slaves were trafficked through the transatlantic network of which the island was a major hub before slavery was abolished in the colony in 1838.
After Britain finally paid off the descendants of slave owners for the loss of ‘property’ they endured when their slaves became free human beings in 2015, paying reparations to the descendants of their former property has become less popular.
Former PM David Cameron, whose family profited from the slave trade, was asked for reparations in 2015 after becoming the first British PM to visit Jamaica in 14 years, but he rejected the idea.
The royal visit set to coincide with the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee marking 70 years on the throne has been repeatedly described by the UK press as a “charm offensive", with some experts suggesting it is an attempt to prevent a “domino effect” following last year’s departure of Barbados from the British Commonwealth.
Moreover, it seems to have proven more “offensive” than “charming", with the royal couple chasing off their first appointment during their visit to Belize after protesters objected to their attempted use of “stolen” communal land.