By Rebecca Cohen and Armani Syed, Insider —
Jamaica has begun the process to have Queen Elizabeth II removed as the country’s head of state, government sources told The Independent and Harper’s Bazaar.
The country intended to continue working toward becoming a republic following Prince William’s and Kate Middleton’s visit to the island this week, a government source told Nadine White, The Independent’s race correspondent.
The publication reported that a senior figure, who did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment, had been appointed within the Jamaican government to lead the nation’s journey toward becoming a republic, as Barbados officially did in November.
“The government has had to start the process; the road to becoming a republic is not an easy one but they have long been coming under significant pressure to do it,” a political source told White.
To celebrate the Queen’s platinum jubilee, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the island as part of a weeklong tour of Caribbean countries that are part of the Commonwealth, as outlined in a press release.
The Independent further reported that the couple was met with 350 protesters outside the British High Commission when they arrived in Kingston on Tuesday, with Jamaicans demanding reparations and apologies from the royal family for years of slavery.
Placards from demonstrators displayed anti-colonial messaging, with one sign saying, “Kings, Queens and Princesses and Princes belong in fairytales not in Jamaica!” Sky News reported.
The Advocates Network coalition of Jamaican politicians, business leaders, doctors, and musicians wrote an open letter detailing 60 reasons the monarchy should compensate Jamaica, to mark the country’s 60th anniversary of independence, which was handed to the British High Commission on Tuesday night, The Independent reported.
The publication added that many Jamaicans were not entirely hopeful, as Prime Minister Andrew Holness was appointed to the Queen’s Privy Council — a body of advisors to the sovereign — in July.
“We will not participate in your Platinum Jubilee celebration!”
Full open letter to Prince William and Kate, from Jamaica’s Advocates Network, ahead of the reparations protest at the British High Commission in Kingston tomorrow.#RoyalTourCaribbean https://t.co/svLXi37Ntf pic.twitter.com/6A8Ar3mIL3
— Nadine White (@Nadine_Writes) March 21, 2022
Reuters reported that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had to cancel the first stop on their Caribbean tour — Belize — because of similar anti-colonialism demonstrations against the royals. The couple was due to visit Akte’il Ha cacao farm on Sunday in an indigenous Mayan village when local protests about colonialism and land disputes took place, Reuters reported.
Indian Creek residents told the news agency that their resistance was the result of the royals’ helicopter landing on a soccer field that’s the subject of a land dispute between Belizean citizens and Fauna and Flora International, a conservation group that lists William as a patron.
William and Kate are due to arrive in the Bahamas on Thursday for their final stop on the tour, Bloomberg reported. There may be further demonstrations, with the publication saying that one Bahamas committee called on the Duke and Duchess to acknowledge that the British economy was “built on the backs” of Bahamians and pay reparations.
The Bahamas National Reparations Committee wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday: “Why are we footing the bill for the benefit of a regime whose rise to ‘greatness’ was fueled by the extinction, enslavement, colonization, and degradation of the people of this land? Why are we being made to pay again?”
Representatives from the British government, Buckingham Palace, and Kensington Palace did not immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment.
Featured photo by Julian Parke, UK Press