The Duke and ‘s tour of the Caribbean has been overshadowed by protests focused on the legacy of the British Empire and slavery in the region.
In Jamaica – the second stop on the eight-day visit – demonstrators in the capital Kingston accused the couple of benefiting from the ‘blood, sweat and tears of slaves’ and called for reparations to be paid.
The couple were also forced to cancel a visit to a cacao farm shortly after arriving in Belize following residents’ anger that they weren’t consulted about the football pitch earmarked for the landing of their helicopter.
And in the Bahamas, which William and Kate arrive in tomorrow, the country’s national reparations committee has called on the royal couple to acknowledge that the was ‘built on the backs’ of past Bahamians.
In each nation – all of which were once part of the British Empire and are now Commonwealth countries – there is a complicated history of slavery that has contributed to varying amounts of ill-feeling towards the Royal family and the UK.
In Jamaica alone, hundreds of thousands of African slaves were shipped by Britain from the 17th century onwards and forced to work in brutal conditions on sugar plantations.
The shift away from British influence has been hastened by the flooding in of Chinese investment into the region that amounts to at least $7billion since 2005.
At least $450million of Chinese money has been spent in the Bahamas, $490million in Barbados, $1.9billion in Trinidad and Tobago and $2.7billion in Jamaica.
The calls for change were made stronger by the global Black Lives Matter protests sparked by the murder of black man George Floyd at the hands of police in the U.S.in May 2020.
Anti-royal sentiment in the Caribbean was most recently demonstrated with the government of Barbados’s decision last November to become a republic by removing the Queen as head of state.
The history of the slave trade and Britain’s role in it in Barbados played a part in that decision.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s tour of the Caribbean has been overshadowed by protests focused on the legacy of the British Empire and slavery in the region. Pictured: Prince William and Kate Middleton in Kingston, Jamaica, on Tuesday
In Jamaica – the second stop on the eight-day visit – demonstrators in the capital Kingston accused the couple of benefiting from the ‘blood, sweat and tears of slaves’ and called for reparations to be paid.Above: The protesters outside the British High Commission
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