Jamaica Tells William And Kate It Wants To Sever Ties With British Monarchy
Jamaica has told the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge that it intends to sever ties with the British monarchy, saying it plans to move into the future as an ‘independent, developed, prosperous country’.
During the royal couple’s Caribbean tour, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness expressed his country’s plans for independence, saying ‘unresolved issues’ remain. Telling William and Kate that Jamaica was ‘very happy’ to have them, Holness said: “Jamaica is a very free and liberal country and the people are very expressive and I’m certain that you will have seen the spectrum of expression.
“There are issues here which are, as you would know, unresolved, but your presence gives an opportunity for these issues to be placed in context, put front and centre and to be addressed as best we can.
“But Jamaica is, as you can see, a country that is very proud of its history, very proud of what we have achieved.”
He added: “We are moving on and we intend to attain, in short order, our developing goals and to fulfil our true ambitions and destiny as an independent, developed, prosperous country.”
During his 2016 election campaign, the 49-year-old Prime Minister – who is Jamaica’s youngest leader to date – promised to turn the country from a constitutional monarchy into a republic, saying his government would introduce a bill that would replace the Queen with a ‘non-executive president as head of state’.
Holness has appointed former attorney general Marlene Malahoo Forte as minister of constitutional affairs, a position that took effect in January and involves overseeing and advising the government as Jamaica seeks to transition to republic status.
Many Jamaican politicians and professors have criticised the Duke and Duchess’ visit, saying there is no reason to 'celebrate' the British monarchy as they have inflicted pain and suffering on the nation. After flying over from Belize, the royal couple were also met with a much-publicised demonstration urging the monarchy to pay reparations for slavery.
An open letter written by Advocates Network Jamaica – signed by 100 Jamaican leaders – is seeking the British monarchy to 'redefine' their relationship with the people of Jamaica.
It reads: "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. You, who may one day lead the British Monarchy, are direct beneficiaries of the wealth accumulated by the Royal family over centuries, including that stemming from the trafficking and enslavement of Africans."
The letter also demanded an apology for the 'exploitation of the indigenous people of Jamaica, the transatlantic trafficking of Africans, the enslavement of Africans, indentureship and colonialisation', saying Jamaicans wish to begin the 'process of healing, forgiveness, reconciliation and compensation.'
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