Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness expressed his country’s goals of “moving on” and becoming a republic when meeting Prince William and Kate Middleton on Wednesday.
“We are very, very happy to have you, and we hope you have had a warm welcome from people,” Holness said in video captured by Sky News’ royal correspondent, Rhiannon Mills.
“Jamaica is a very free and liberal country. And people are very expressive. And I’m sure you would have seen the spectrum of expressions yesterday,’ the Prime Minister added, referring to protests in Kingston on Tuesday that were calling on the British royal family to acknowledge their role in colonization and slavery and pay reparations .
“There are issues here that, as you know, are unresolved. But your presence here provides an opportunity to put these issues in context, bring them to the fore and address them as best we can,” Holness added.
“But Jamaica is, as you see, a country that is very proud of our history and very proud of what we have achieved,” he told the Cambridges. “And we are moving forward. And we intend to quickly achieve our development goals and realize our true ambitions and destiny as an independent, developed and prosperous country.
On Tuesday, The Independent reported that Jamaica “has already begun” its process of impeachment of Queen Elizabeth as head of state as it continues its drive to become a republic.
Holness announced the country’s intention to become a republic shortly after Barbados officially deposed the Queen as head of state in 2021.
“There is no doubt that Jamaica must become a republic,” he said last year, according to Loop Jamaica News. “We have developed a plan to achieve this in a way that is meaningful and substantial in function and form. That’s what we’re going to do.
A Buckingham Palace spokesperson told HuffPost on Wednesday that he would not comment directly on the matter, saying it was the business of the Jamaican people.
The comment echoes the Palace’s response when asked in 2020 about Barbados’ decision to depose the Queen as head of state.
An unnamed royal source told the Press Association that Prince William planned to acknowledge slavery in a speech he was due to deliver on Wednesday evening.