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Jamaicans Don’t Want William and Kate’s Visit—They Want Reparations

People calling for slavery reparations, protest outside the entrance of the British High Commission during the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Kingston, Jamaica on March 22, 2022. - The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Jamaica on Tuesday for a series of outings in honor of Queen Elizabeth's Platinum Jubilee year. (Photo by Ricardo Makyn / AFP) (Photo by RICARDO MAKYN/AFP via Getty Images)

Jamaicans are calling for change as Prince William and his wife, Duchess Kate, arrive on their tour of the current Commonwealth.

Currently, they’re on a weeklong Central American and Caribbean tour that started in Belize and will make stops in Jamaica and the Bahamas. NPR reports that the tour came about due to the current fervor in the Caribbean to become independent from the monarchy, following the recent decision of Barbados in November of last year. Protesters have been in front of the British High Commission in Kingston, and prominent Jamaican leaders have come together, publicizing a letter demanding that Britain apologize and award its former colony slavery reparations.

You love to see it.

Britain ruled Jamaica for 300 years as a slave colony, inflicting inhumane treatment on the Africans they transported to the island and murdering the indigenous populations that were already there. It was one of the most profitable islands in their collection and remains a trade partner and part of the commonwealth now.

Last year, Jamaican lawmaker Mike Henry put a petition in motion to seek more than $10 billion in reparations for slavery. This estimate, which one could argue is much less than it should be, is based on how much enslavers received in compensation after Britain abolished slavery. An estimated 800,000 enslaved Black people were freed in Jamaica in 1834, according to The Washington Post. Britain paid slaveholders by taking out a mammoth loan, the interest on which it finished paying only in 2015.

Going through the pictures of William and Kate’s tour, it is just so … cringe to see. This royal institution couldn’t even fully embrace the most palatable version of Blackness in Meghan Markle, but is parading around to try to prove to Black people in the Caribbean that they care.

As someone of half-Jamaican ancestry, it feels really good to see the people of the Caribbean saying that they want to be paid for the immense fortunes they helped build for the Empire—for the slaveowners who were paid off for their ancestors. It is time for that to change, and flying out your next-in-line royal couple isn’t going to change that.

Diana keeping Australia in the fold is not something that can be redone with the Afro-Caribbean people with William and Kate. Not only do they not have the range, but the racism within the Royal family has only been made more clear. Jamaican artist Beenie Man told Good Morning Britain, “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.”

And it is not just those on the island, but also Caribbean people in the United Kingdom who are discriminated against and denied jobs while still being brought in and utilized for their labor. It is going to be time to pay up because the Commonwealth is making it clear they don’t need a King or Queen.

(via NPR, image: RICARDO MAKYN/AFP via Getty Images)

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Princess (she/her-bisexual) is a Brooklyn born Megan Fox truther, who loves Sailor Moon, mythology, and diversity within sci-fi/fantasy. Still lives in Brooklyn with her over 500 Pokémon that she has Eevee trained into a mighty army. Team Zutara forever.