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Jamaican Rastas and others seek audience on reparations with visiting Duke and Duchess

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Posted: Tuesday, March 22, 2022. 7:24 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: Tonight, Their Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are in Jamaica to continue the second leg of the Caribbean Platinum Jubilee Tour.

But various groups and citizens in the island nation intend to push their concerns through the Jamaican government to the couple.

According to the Jamaica Gleaner, a Rastafarian community-based in Western Jamaica has said it will not stage protests like some Maya villagers in Indian Creek, Toledo District did here, forcing a cancellation of a visit to a local cacao farm.

Instead, said Lewis Brown, treasurer of the Rastafari Coral Gardens Benevolence Society, they have written to Jamaica’s Minister of Gender, Culture, Entertainment, and Sport Olivia Grange to “open up a way so that we can make a presentation to them as a reminder of the country’s reparation claims from slavery,” adding that a letter will remind them of theirs and their country’s responsibility to reparate for the slavery of Africans in Jamaica and the wider Caribbean.

Brown has called for the writing off of loans and financing for the construction of more schools and public hospitals in the island. While his group is discussing whether to demand a formal apology, Anglican priest Sean Major-Campbell says the couple should do so.

Reverend Major-Campbell, writing to the Gleaner, accused former Prime Minister David Cameron of failing to appreciate the magnitude of the suffering of the ancestors and manumitted who have not been compensated, and insulted the country by missing the ongoing effect slavery has had on Caribbean nations such as Jamaica.

It is unclear whether the Jamaican Government will broach the issue of reparation with the royal couple, but Grange has long declared the Government’s support for compensation.

“It is only fair for those who have wronged our ancestors to pay the debt they owe to the present generation,” Grange said at a forum in 2018.

There is anxiety about whether anti-royal organizations and lobbyists could upstage the Jamaica visit by the Duke and Duchess.

The visit to Jamaica will last until March 24, when the couple head to the Bahamas.

 

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