Jamaican academics, politicians, and activists are seeking to remove Queen Elizabeth II as head of state; the country is also calling on the United Kingdom to apologize and pay reparations for hundreds of years of slavery, Al Jazeera reports. Also, the Caribbean nation is protesting a visit made by the duke and duchess of Cambridge,
Britain’s Prince William, the grandson of Queen Elizabeth II along with his wife Kate arrived in the capital of Kingston on Tuesday for a week-long Caribbean tour amid protests of the United Kingdom’s colonial past.
The royal couple’s trip coincides with the 60th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence and the 70th anniversary of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth.
Over 100 Jamaican leaders published an open letter over the weekend that said they saw “no reason to celebrate” the Queen’s coronation “because her leadership, and that of her predecessors, have perpetuated the greatest human rights tragedy in the history of humankind”
“During her 70 years on the throne, your grandmother has done nothing to redress and atone for the suffering of our ancestors that took place during her reign and/or during the entire period of British trafficking of Africans, enslavement, indentureship, and colonization,” the letter read.
Also, the letter stated that the country should be celebrating 60 years of liberation from Britain, adding that it is saddened “that more progress has not been made given the burden of our colonial inheritance. We nonetheless celebrate the many achievements of great Jamaicans who rejected negative, colonial self-concepts and who self-confidently succeeded against tremendous odds. We will also remember and celebrate our freedom fighters.”
Mike Henry, a Jamaican legislator who has fought tirelessly to obtain reparations, told The Associated Press that an apology is just the beginning of what he said was an “abuse of human life and labor”.
“An apology really admits that there is some guilt,” he said.
Prince William and Kate are also expected to celebrate Bob Marley’s legacy, which has offended some Jamaicans.
“As a Rastafarian, Bob Marley embodied advocacy and is recognized globally for the principles of human rights, equality, reparations and repatriation,” the letter continued.
As EBONY previously reported, Barbados was the most recent country to claim independence from the British monarchy.
On November 30, a grand ceremony was held to mark the celebration of Barbados as a republic which was attended by Prince Charles. During the celebration, Rihanna was declared a “national hero.”