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British royals' Jamaica visit stirs demands for slavery reparations


Britain's Prince William and his wife Kate arrived in Jamaica on Tuesday (March 22) as part of a week-long Caribbean tour hours after activists protested to demand reparations for slavery amid growing scrutiny of the British Empire's colonial legacy.

Dozens of people gathered outside the British High Commission in Kingston, singing traditional Rastafarian songs and holding banners with the phrase "seh yuh sorry" - a local patois phrase that urged Britain to apologize.

The government last year announced plans to ask Britain for compensation for forcibly transporting an estimated 600,000 Africans to work on sugar cane and banana plantations that created fortunes for British slaveholders.

Jamaica lawmaker Mike Henry has proposed a reparations package of 7.6 billion pounds ($10 billion).

He has said the figure is derived from a 20 million pound payment that Britain's government made in 1837 to compensate slave owners in British colonies for the emancipation of enslaved people following the 1833 abolition of slavery.

The royal visits to Caribbean nations are seen as an effort to convince other former British colonies - including Belize and The Bahamas - to stay on as "realms" of the British monarchy amid a rising regional movement towards republicanism.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge arrived in Belize on Saturday to start the tour that coincides with Queen Elizabeth's 70th year on the throne and will conclude it over the weekend with a visit to The Bahamas.

 

Published : March 23, 2022

By : Reuters