There are growing calls for demonstrating true independence and removing traces of colonialism from the British Monarchy in Jamaica. Correspondingly, in 2022 Jamaica celebrates 60 years of independence.
Amidst this increased agitation, William, Duke of Cambridge, and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, will arrive in Kingston on March 22. The royal’s visit is part of their Caribbean tour. The tour marks in part the 70th Anniversary (Platinum Jubilee) of the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II.
Prior to their first stop in Belize protests about their arrival sored throughout the internet. One such protest caused the cancellation of their visit to a particular farm area in the country. In Jamaica, there is open opposition to their visit from several groups. An open letter from the Advocates Network reasoned their opposition to participating in the Platinum Jubilee celebration. On the contrary, the letter invites the royal couple to join Jamaica as we celebrate 60 years of freedom from British colonial domination.
According to the group, the Queen and her predecessors “have perpetuated the greatest human rights tragedy in the history of humankind”. The letter further admonishes that, “During [Queen Elizabeth’s] 70 years on the throne, [she] 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 colonialization.”
Apologise For the Offenses Under Coloniasm
Furthermore, they remain resolute that an apology is needed following the “offensive and insensitive statements” made on September 30, 2015, by former Prime Minister David Cameron. The open letter outlined that during his address, Cameron addressed a joint sitting of both houses of the Jamaican Parliament and told us to “move on from this painful legacy”. In their words, he merely acknowledged the “horrors of slavery” and asserted British leadership in the abolition of slavery.
The group is demanding 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 colonialization, is necessary to begin a process of healing, forgiveness, reconciliation and compensation.” Accompanying the letter are 60 reasons why the apology should be forthcoming.
The Very Rev. Sean Major-Campbell J.P., Dean of Kingston (Rector of Christ Church, Vineyard Town) & Director with Jamaicans for Justice, shared his expectations of the open letter. Father Sean says, “It is my hope that we will realize the significance of any response, negative or positive, to the request of t open letter by Advocates Network. In a world where narcissistic bullies appear to be having their own way, on which side will the Monarchy want to stand? An apology or the lack thereof will tell.”