Demonstrators gathered outside the British representation in Kingston, Tuesday, to protest the visit of Prince William and his wife Kate to Jamaica, to mark Queen Elizabeth II’s jubilee, which in 2022 will celebrate 70 years of her reign.
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The protesters demanded that the monarchy, a former colonial power, pay reparations and apologize for its role in the slave trade that brought hundreds of thousands of Africans to the island to work in inhumane conditions.
“I am here to represent my ancestors who died as slaves and were murdered by the oppression of whites,” said Clement “My Maid” Deslands, who had been demonstrating since the morning before the arrival of the princely couple.
He explained that he felt it was an insult to his ancestors for “a member of the royal family to come here without a care, without feeling remorse.”
“They have this privilege of nobles,” he said. “They can get here and we have to roll the red carpet for them. That era is over,” he said.
William and Kate’s Caribbean tour has already suffered a setback with the cancellation of the first stop in a village in Belize last week, due to a dispute between locals and a charity sponsored by William.
The visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, who must go to the Bahamas, comes at a time when voices are rising in Jamaica to follow the example of Barbados, which became a republic in 2021.
Jamaica, which was occupied by the Spanish after the arrival of Christopher Columbus, passed in 1655 under the yoke of the British Crown, who used slavery to develop the island’s economy.
After its independence in 1962, the island remained a parliamentary monarchy headed by Queen Elizabeth II of England.
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