Demonstrators gathered outside the British delegation in Kingston on Tuesday to protest the visit of Prince William and his wife Kate to Jamaica on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign in 2022.
Protesters demanded that the monarchy, the power of the former colonial powers, pay compensation 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’m here to represent my ancestors who died as slaves and were killed by white oppression,” said Clement “Zawari” Deslands, who has been performing since the morning before the royal couple’s arrival.
He explained that he felt that “a member of the royal family came here without any care or remorse” was an insult to his ancestors.
“They have the authority of these lords,” he said. “They can come here and we should put them on the red carpet. That era is over.”
William and Kate’s visit to the Caribbean has already suffered a setback with the cancellation of the first stop last week in a village in Belize, due to a dispute between the local population and a charity sponsored by William.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge should visit the Bahamas at a time when voices are being heard in Jamaica to follow the example of Barbados, which became a republic in 2021.
Jamaica, colonized by the Spaniards after the arrival of Christopher Columbus, was adopted in 1655 under the banner of the British crown, which used slavery to develop the island’s economy.
Since independence in 1962, the island has had a parliamentary monarchy, headed by Queen Elizabeth II of England.