Protestas contra el príncipe británico en su visita al país por no reconocer el legado esclavista
Protestas y reclamos por la esclavitud en la visita del príncipe británico Guillermo y Catalina a Jamaica
La visita oficial del Príncipe Guillermo y Catalina a Kingston, Jamaica, desató manifestaciones para exigir a la monarquía británica disculparse por su papel en el comercio de esclavos en esta antigua colonia.
En el encuentro oficial de este miércoles, que más bien fue un momento tenso, el primer ministro de Jamaica, Andrew Holness, advirtió a Guillermo y Catalina que su nación está “avanzando” y tiene la intención de deshacerse de la monarquía, tal como lo hizo recientemente Barbados.
Holness luego le dijo a la pareja real que, si bien los jamaicanos estaban “muy, muy felices” de darles la bienvenida, “hay problemas aquí que, como saben, están sin resolver”.
Agregó que su nación está “avanzando” y tiene “verdaderas ambiciones” de convertirse en un “país independiente, desarrollado y próspero”. Sus comentarios siguieron a su declaración del año pasado de que “no había duda” de que su país se convertiría en una república. Los políticos están presionando para que la medida no tome más de dos años y esperan que se lleve a cabo un referéndum antes de fines de 2022.
Entre vítores y rechazo
Hubo una reacción mixta de los medios de prensa jamaiquinos a la gira caribeña de Guillermo y Catalina: las estaciones de televisión y los periódicos informan sobre el ‘rechazo real’, también de los ‘vítores y abucheos’ y sobre los manifestantes ‘tomando una posición respecto al dolor de la esclavitud’.
El duque y la duquesa de Cambridge se encuentran en la capital jamaiquina para una parada de tres días, como parte de un viaje al Caribe en reconocimiento al 70 aniversario de la coronación de la reina Isabel II.
Sin embargo, los manifestantes protestaron con pancartas afuera de la Alta Comisión Británica antes de la llegada de la pareja real, para reclamar que la monarquía repare monetariamente y se disculpe por su papel en el comercio de esclavos que llevó a la isla a miles de africanos bajo condiciones inhumanas.
Entre los manifestantes, Clement ‘Jawari’ Deslandes dijo que era una bofetada en la cara de sus ancestros que “una persona de la realeza llegara sin preocupación ni remordimiento en su corazón”.
“Tienen este privilegio de la nobleza (…) en el que pueden caminar por aquí y nosotros debemos ponerles una alfombra roja. Esos días se acabaron”, reclamó Deslandes.
“Estoy aquí representando a mis ancestros, todos ellos murieron en la esclavitud y fueron asesinados por la opresión de los blancos”, expresó.
La visita real llega en medio de crecientes llamados a Jamaica para que siga el ejemplo de Barbados y se convierta en una república y le quite a la reina la jefatura de estado.
La pareja canceló otra fase de su visita a Belice al inicio de su tour por el Caribe debido a quejas de comunidades indígenas, según informes.
Jamaica is moving on!
In the face of their attempt to woo Jamaicans during their trip to the island, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were informed by Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Wednesday of the country’s intention to cut ties with the royal family and become a republic.
During a courtesy call with the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Kate, Holness said in short order, Jamaica will become a “fully independent” country,
“Jamaica is, as you would see, a country that is very proud of our history, very proud of what we have achieved, and we are moving on.”
Noting that the government intends to attain the necessary documents and engage in the relevant procedures to make this possible, Holness said the country aims to “fulfil our true ambitions as an independent, developed, prosperous country”.
The prime minister added that there are unresolved issues with the nation but said the couple’s presence was an opportunity for those issues to be placed in context and be addressed as best as possible.
Shortly after the courtesy call The Duke and Duchess left for Shortwood Teacher’s College in St Andrew where they were expected to meet with Education Minister Fayval Williams, along with students and researchers at the institution.
William and Kate’s visit is in celebration of The Queen’s 70th year on the British throne. The couple arrived in Jamaica on Tuesday after visiting Belize and will move on to The Bahamas in a week-long tour of Commonwealth countries where The Queen is still head of state.
As British royals visit Jamaica, protesters demand slavery reparations
Protesters in Jamaica raised their fists Tuesday as they donned T-shirts emblazoned with a pair of shackled Black wrists surrounded by the phrases “Seh Yuh Sorry!” and “Apologize now!” as they demonstrated just hours before Prince William and Kate arrived.
The protest in front of the British High Commission in Kingston comes a couple of days after dozens of prominent leaders in Jamaica publicized a letter demanding that Britain apologize and award its former colony slavery reparations. They also decried the weeklong Central American and Caribbean tour that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge embarked on Saturday, which coincides with Jamaica’s 60th independence anniversary and the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation.
“Kings, Queens and Princesses and Princes belong in fairytales, NOT in Jamaica!” read one poster held aloft by a young girl who joined the protest.
The royal couple’s trip, which began with a stop in Belize followed by scheduled visits to Jamaica and the Bahamas, was organized at the queen’s behest as some countries debate cutting ties to the monarchy like Barbados did in November.
Mike Henry, a veteran Jamaican lawmaker, said in a phone interview that while the topic has been discussed, he worries that demands for an apology and reparations would be rendered moot if the island stopped pledging allegiance to the queen.
Maziki Thame, a senior lecturer at the University of the West Indies, noted that Jamaicans have been seeking reparations for decades.
“This is not a new cause,” she said in a phone interview as she prepared to join the protest. “The question is whether it will get any traction…whether the British are ready to contend with their history.”
The British empire controlled Jamaica for more than 300 years and forced hundreds of thousands of African slaves to toil the island under brutal conditions. Sugar replaced tobacco and cocoa as the main crop, with some 430 sugar estates reported by the mid-1700s, up from 57 nearly a century prior, according to Jamaica Information Services, a government agency.
The group protesting the royal visit noted in its letter that the British raped and killed thousands of slaves as it sought an apology for 60 reasons, including “for refusing to acknowledge the historic trade in Africans as a crime against humanity,” and for “pretending that the British led the abolition movement, when our ancestors worked, prayed and fought hard for this.”
Thame, the university professor, said she and many other Jamaicans are not celebrating what is known as the queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
“That doesn’t speak to us in the way they might imagine that speaks to us,” she said. “In the 20th century, Jamaicans have moved beyond celebrating the crown.”
Prince William and Kate are scheduled to spend two days in Jamaica, where they’re expected to meet with government officials and tour Trench Town, the gritty birthplace of rocksteady and reggae where Bob Marley grew up.
Ahead of their trip, Jamaican singer Beenie Man told TV show Good Morning Britain that the U.K. still controls the commonwealth of Jamaica: “It’s all about the Queen, and the Queen serve and the Queen this and that – but what are they doing for Jamaica? They’re not doing anything for us.”
The monarchy has said that Britain and Jamaica have a strong trade relationship, with the island exporting goods including rum and raw cane sugar to the U.K. It also noted the creation of programs targeting poverty, security, natural disaster management, social issues and the economy.
An estimated 55,000 British citizens live in Jamaica, while some 800,000 people of Jamaican descent live in the United Kingdom. The relationship between the two countries soured in recent years after some Caribbean people who had long lived in Britain legally were denied jobs, housing or medical care, with some deported because they didn’t have the required paperwork. Britain has since apologized and pledged compensation.
Open Letter from Jamaican Advocacy Group Requesting Prince William & the Duchess of Cambridge Kate apologizes for UK colonial past
Dear William and Kate:
We note with great concern your visit to our country Jamaica, during a period when we are still in the throes of a global pandemic and bracing for the full impact of another global crisis associated with the Russian/Ukraine war. Many Jamaicans are unaware of your visit as they struggle to cope with the horrendous fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbated by pre-existing social and economic hardships inherited from our colonial past.
We also note that your visit is part of the celebrations to mark the 70th Anniversary (Platinum Jubilee) of the Coronation of your grandmother and the 60th Anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence. 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. Her ascension to the throne, in February 1952, took place 14 years after the 1938 labour uprisings against inhumane working/living conditions and treatment of workers; painful legacies of plantation slavery, which persist today. 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 colonialization.
In fact, on September 30, 2015 former Prime Minister (PM) David Cameron addressed a joint sitting of both houses of the Jamaican Parliament, and told us to “move on from this painful legacy,” merely acknowledging the “horrors of slavery” and asserting British leadership in the abolition of slavery. Many of us were outraged and demanded an apology through several open letters by former PM PJ Patterson, Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, and University of Technology, Jamaica professionals, as well as newspaper articles, including one by Dr Henley Morgan. We still await an apology for the offensive and insensitive statements. We have not forgotten! As Cameron correctly noted: “these wounds run very deep.”
We, therefore, will not participate in your Platinum Jubilee celebration!
We will, however, celebrate 60 years of freedom from British colonial domination. We are 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, including our National Heroes, who bravely fought against British tyrannical rule and abominable human rights abuses. We welcome you to join this celebration.
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. You therefore have the unique opportunity to redefine the relationship between the British Monarchy and the people of Jamaica. If you choose to do so, we urge you to start with an apology and recognition of the need for atonement and reparations. There are many reasons why we see this is an important and necessary way forward for you both and the generations to come. We have attached a list of only sixty (60) reasons in commemoration of our 60 years of freedom from British colonialization.
We urge you to reflect carefully on these 60 reasons why you should apologize and begin a process of reparatory justice. It is unconscionable that enslavers have been compensated under the Slave Compensation Act (1837), with some payments converted into 3.5% government annuities which lasted until 2015, yet to date there has been no compensation paid to the descendants of enslaved Africans.
We are of the view that 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.
We encourage you to act accordingly and just “sey yuh sorry!” Boldly lead a youthful generation in the hope that it is possible to create a future where: “the philosophy which hold one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned,” and where there is no “first class and second class citizens of any nation,” and where “the colour of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes” and, finally, where “basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race.” These words were used by Emperor Haile Selassie I in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on 4 October 1963, and was made popular by Bob Marley in the song “War.” As a Rastafarian, Bob Marley embodied advocacy and is recognized globally for the principles of human rights, equality, reparations and repatriation. Use these words to create a new narrative and reality of PEACE for your generation and generations to come.
With Great Expectations!
The Advocates Network: #AdvocatesNetwork #Jamaica60 #WeNaaEaseUp
1. Prof Rosalea Hamilton, Advocates Network
2. Nora Blake, JP, Convener, No 9-Day Wonder, Advocates Network
3. Prof Opal Palmer Adisa, Adisa Consulting/Thursdays in Black, Advocates Network
4. Patricia Phillips, Advocates Network
5. P N. Grant, Advocates Network
6. Oberlene Smith, Advocates Network
7. Fr. Sean Major-Campbell, J.P. Anglican Priest & Advocate for Human Rights
8. Judith Wedderburn, Gender and Development Advocate
9. Diedre Hart-Chang, Human Rights Advocate
10. Dr. Henley Morgan, Social Entrepreneur
11. Prof Trevor Munroe, Civil Society Advocate
12. Mike Henry, Reparations Advocate for Chattel Slavery, One of the 2 longest serving MP in Jamaica
13. Jacqui Samuels-Brown, Attorney at Law
14. Hugh Small, Attorney-at-law
15. Bert Samuels, Attorney at Law
16. Manley (Big Youth) Buchanan, Musician and Freedom Advocate
17. Ernie Smith, Singer/Songwriter
18. Professor Grethel Bradford, Human Rights Advocate & Trauma Professional
19. Dr Anna Kasafi Perkins, Roman Catholic Theologian and Ethicist
39. Lorna Wilson-Morgan PhD, Security Advisor (Retired)
40. George Golding, Entertainment Consultant
41. Rev. Newton G.A. Dixon, African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church
42. Kenneth Delano Rowe, Pan-Africanist
43. Imani Duncan-Price, Gender and Development Activist, Former Senator
44. Mishka Parkins, Consultant, Human Rights Advocate
45. Marvia Parkins, Educator, Human Rights Advocate
46. Paul Irving, Educational Psychologist
47. KaBu Ma’at Kheru, Talk Show Host
48. Lois E. Grant (Nzingha) Communications Consultant
49. Lorna E Green, Convenor, Women Business Owner Ltd.
50. Andrew Neita, Engineer
51. Copeland Fisher, Retired Jamaican
52. Paul Burke, PNP NEC Life Member
53. Glynis Hay, Educator
54. Marcia Swaby, Retired Teacher
55. Christopher Malcolm, Jamaican without allegiance to the Crown
56. Claudette Cameron-Stewart, Jamaican Diaspora Organizer
57. Mark Cameron, Co Convener, UIC
58. Andre Simpson, CEO, Higher Thinka
59. Gillian Fox-Crosskill, Human Resources Manager
60. Joseph L Patterson, UIC Jamaica President
61. Eroll Walters, Jamaican Diaspora
62. Sharon Wolfe, Administrator
63. Dr Calvin Solomon, Medical Doctor
64. Acinette Nelson, Jamaica Diaspora
65. Yola Grey Baker, Fashion Designer
66. Anthony White, Jamaica Research Project
67. Bevenisha Moodie-Osawaru, Management Consultant
68. Dr Caroline Dyche (PhD), Lecturer, UWI Mona
69. Roy Phillips, retired Civil Servant
70. Sidonie Donald-DePass, retired Matron, Spanish Town Hospital
71. Victor J.N. Cummings, Former Member of Parliament
72. Elaine Wint, Corporate Trainer/Coach
73. Saba Igbe, Writer, Student
74. Jonathan P. H. Burke, St. Mary Farmer
75. Osmond Tomlinson, Medical Doctor
76. Jacqueline Francis, Medical Doctor
77. Dr Paul Allwood, Jamaica Diaspora
78. Kenyama Brown, Minister of Foreign Affairs, The State of the African Diaspora (SOAD)
79. Tehuti Ra Hujae, member of the People’s Anti-Corruption Movement
80. Topaz Cole, Natural by Nature’s Farm and Agro processing
81. Glen Brown (GB), Human Rights Advocate
82. Donna AM Mattis, Teacher, Human and Social Rights Activist, Blogger, Member of People’s Anti-Corruption Movement
83. Richard Marsh, Marine Biologist
84. Arlene McKenzie, Freelance Community Tourism Consultant
85. Maxine Stowe, Director, Ethio Africa Diaspora Union Millennium Council aka Rastafari Millenium Council
86. Priest Wesley Kelly, Haile Selassie 1 Royal Ethiopian Judah Coptic Church
87. Priest Bongo Leo, Stony Gut, Nyahbinghi Tabernacle
88. Hugh Johnson, Rep, Bernard Lodge Farmers Group and Immediate Past President SBAJ
89. Osunya Minott, Black Roots Records
90. Carlton Livingston, Executor, Bunny Wailer Estate
91. Angela Pinnock, Medical Professional
92. Errol Kong, aka Ricky Storm Jah warrior
93. Trudy Knockless, Business of Law Journalist, NY
94. Camica Fuller, Jamaican mother
95. Theo Chambers, Wellness Consultant and Humanitarian
96. Sharon Parris-Chambers, Founding Director, Temple of Inner Peace and Humanitarian
97. Donna Brown, Jamaica Diaspora
98. Andrea Prendergast, Mother
99. Dr Joan Shaw-Johnson, Jamaican Citizen
100. Stand Up For Jamaica (non-profit organization)