Bahamas committee asks Prince William and Kate Middleton to apologize for colonization

A Bahamian government committee has called on Prince William and Kate Middleton to admit Britain’s economy was “built on the backs” of colonized ancestors and pay reparations.

The National Reparations Committee, set up in 2014 to take legal action against European countries for reparations, has demanded that the British royal family issue “full and formal apologies for their crimes against humanity” as the Duke and the Duchess of Cambridge are continuing their controversial trip to the Caribbean to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee Year.

The royal couple plan to travel to the Bahamas later this week, which the reparations committee noted in a ruthless statement coincides with the 15th anniversary of the International Day of Remembrance for Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade. .

“Why are we footing the bill for a regime whose rise to ‘greatness’ has been fueled by the extinction, enslavement, colonization and degradation of the people of this land? Why do we have to pay again? the statement talks about the Cambridges’ trip.

“We are in no way beholden to the British Monarchy and owe them no debt of gratitude for anything – not for our culture, our religion or our system of governance. Instead, the monarchy plundered and pillaged our land and our people for centuries, leaving us struggling with underdevelopment, left to pick up the pieces.

The statement continues with a demand for an apology and reparations.

“The Duke and Duchess cannot be compelled to make such a statement during their visit to our shores,” the statement read.

“However, they can no longer ignore the devastation of their heritage. They and their family of royals and their government must recognize that their diverse economy was built on the backs of our ancestors. And then they have to pay.

The request follows protests in Kingston, Jamaica on Tuesday before Kate and William arrived in the afternoon. The royal family has called off a previous engagement following protests over their presence in Belize.

People calling for reparations for slavery demonstrate outside the entrance to the British High Commission during the visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Kingston, Jamaica on March 22.

RICARDO MAKYN via Getty Images

Tuesday’s protest, first reported by Nadine White of The Independent, was organized by the Advocates Network, which describes itself as “an unincorporated, nonpartisan alliance of individuals and organizations advocating for Jamaica “. About 350 people attended the protest, a representative for the group told HuffPost.

In an open letter shared with HuffPost, the Advocates Network lists ’60 reasons for apologies and reparations from Britain and its Royal Family’ as Jamaica celebrates 60 years of independence on August 6. .

The letter – signed by hundreds of prominent Jamaicans, including lawyers, artists, professors and politicians – begins by addressing the Cambridges and the Queen’s 70-year reign.

“We see no reason to celebrate 70 years since your grandmother’s ascension to the British throne as her leadership and that of her predecessors perpetuated the greatest human rights tragedy in the history of the UK. humanity,” the letter reads.

The network of lawyers "60 reasons to apologize, #sehyuhsorry and make amends" sign.
Advocates Network’s “60 Reasons to Apologize, #sehyuhsorry, and Make Reparations” panel.

“During her 70 years on the throne, your grandmother did nothing to redress and atone for the sufferings of our ancestors that took place during her reign and/or during the entire period of the British African slave trade, the slavery, enlistment and colonization.”

“We urge you to think carefully about these 60 reasons why you should apologize and initiate restorative justice proceedings,” the letter adds, calling on the future king and his wife to “act accordingly and justly.”sorry yuh!””

Professor Rosalea Hamilton and Patricia Williams of the Advocates Network delivered the open letter to Oliver Blake, head of the policy team at the British High Commission in Jamaica, at the protest.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge did not respond to the protests or statement from the Bahamas committee.

They plan to stay in Jamaica until Thursday. Royal sources told the Press Association that Prince William was due to acknowledge slavery at a dinner on Wednesday.

A "APOLOGIZE" sign seen during the protest outside the entrance to the British High Commission.
An ‘APOLOGISE’ sign seen during the protest outside the entrance to the British High Commission.

RICARDO MAKYN via Getty Images

Also on Tuesday, The Independent reported that Jamaica was in the process of removing Queen Elizabeth as the country’s head of state.

The development is not entirely unexpected after Barbados deposed the Queen as head of state in November 2021. Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness said in December that “there is no doubt that the Jamaica must become a republic”.

“We’ve come up with a plan to achieve this in a way that’s meaningful and substantial in function and form,” Holness said, via Loop Jamaica News. “That’s what we’re going to do.”

A Buckingham Palace spokesperson told HuffPost on Wednesday that the queen’s status in Jamaica is up to the locals.

The palace’s response is similar to what it said in 2020 when asked if Barbados had said it would sack the Queen as head of state.

It remains to be seen whether the British royal family, which remained silent on the Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, will officially apologize for its role in the slave trade and its colonization of large swaths of the world before World War II.

Prince Charles, who attended celebrations marking Barbados’ transition to a republic in November at the invitation of Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley, acknowledged “the appalling atrocity of slavery” in a speech at the ceremony.

“From the darkest days of our past and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our history, the people of this island have blazed their trail with extraordinary courage,” Charles said at the time.

Prince Charles speaks as President of Barbados Dame Sandra Mason looks on during his inauguration on November 30, 2021 in Bridgetown, Barbados.
Prince Charles speaks as President of Barbados Dame Sandra Mason looks on during his inauguration on November 30, 2021 in Bridgetown, Barbados.

The British royal family was also shaken by Meghan Markle’s interview with Oprah Winfrey last year when she said one of the royals questioned her son Archie’s skin color before his birth.

Prince William then responded to this claim by telling reporters that the royal family was “not a racist family at all”. The Queen said in a statement at the time that “memories may differ”.

Prince Harry and Meghan, who retired as working royals in January 2020, spoke about Britain’s colonial past in July 2020 during a meeting with young leaders from the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust . The Commonwealth is made up of 54 nations, some of which are former colonies of the British Empire.

“There is no way to move forward without acknowledging the past,” the Duke of Sussex said at the time.


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