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Royals’ visit to Jamaica met with more protest

InternationalRoyals’ visit to Jamaica met with more protest

KINGSTON, Jamaica, Wed. Mar. 23, 2022– The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Jamaica this Tuesday, March 22, amid numerous protests as well as calls for the country to follow in the steps of Barbados and become a republic. After a two-hour long flight from Belize, the royal couple landed at Norman Manley International Airport, marking the start of a two-night visit to the island nation. There, they were greeted by several Jamaican government officials and other dignitaries, including members of parliament and former Miss World, Lisa Hanna (representing the leader of the Opposition, Mark Golding, and the People’s Nation Party), Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, and Chief of Jamaica’s Defense Staff, Rear Admiral Antonette Wemess Gorman.

Upon departing the airport, the Duke and Duchess visited King’s House, where they met with the Governor-General of Jamaica, Sir Patrick Linton Allen, and his wife, Lady Denise Allen. The couple also visited the birthplace of reggae music, Trench Town, where they played nyabinghi drums at the Trench Town Culture Yard Museum, former home of reggae music legend Bob Marley (who often sang about standing up against oppression).

Additionally, the trip to Trench Town saw the Duke hail footballers Raheem Sterling and Leon Bailey as his “heroes”. He also met Olympic sprinters Shelley-Ann Fraser Price and Elaine Thompson-Herah.

Several hours before the landing of the Duke and Duchess‘s aircraft on the island, however, approximately a hundred protestors gathered outside the British High Commission’s office as part of the movement organized by Advocates Network Jamaica titled “Seh Yuh Sorry”. The visit has even garnered comments from proclaimed King of Dancehall, Beenie Man, who expressed to Good Morning Britain reporters that Jamaicans “don’t want the Queen”.

According to reports, the Prince and his wife are fully aware of the protests and Prince William is expected to acknowledge the issue during the visit.

Day two of the royal couple’s visit to Jamaica included a meeting with Prime Minister Andrew Holness and his wife, Juliet Holness. The prime minister, who during his election campaigns vowed to push for Jamaica to become a republic, presented the Duke and Duchess with a gift of Appleton Estate Ruby Rum and stated that Jamaica was happy to have them. He also acknowledged the protests, stating that they are a show of freedom of expression and an example of how “free and liberal” the country is.

“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,” said Prime Minister Holness, who mentioned his goals of seeing Jamaica thrive as an “independent, developed, prosperous country.”

The royal couple also visited Shortwood Teachers College, where they met with future early childhood educators, and visited the college’s primary and infant school. Later on, they stopped at Spanish Town Hospital, where they met with frontline workers and learned of their experiences during the pandemic.

The final stop on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s Caribbean Tour is The Bahamas, where they are also expected to spend two nights before departing for the United Kingdom on March 26. As was the case in Belize and Jamaica, some Bahamian groups have been protesting the visit, with the Bahamas National Reparations Committee issuing a statement expressing disappointment that The Bahamas will be shouldering much of the cost of the “extravagant trip” and stating “the time is now for reparations.”

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