By NAN EDITORIAL TEAM
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Thurs. Mar. 24, 2022: Last night, March 23rd, more than 24-hours after he was greeted by some protestors in Jamaica calling on him to “apologize” for 400 years of slavery, Prince William, the Duke of Cambridge representing his grandmother who is marking her platinum jubilee year or 70 years on the throne as the Queen of England, stopped short of saying sorry to the many who were clamoring for it.
Officers during the inaugural Commissioning Parade for service personnel from across the Caribbean attended by Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge at the Jamaica Defence Force on day six of the Platinum Jubilee Royal Tour of the Caribbean on March 24, 2022 in Kingston, Jamaica. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are visiting Belize, Jamaica, and The Bahamas on their week-long tour. (Photo by Chris Jackson/Getty Images)
Instead, what he deftly did was sidestep apologizing for his family’s historic role in the brutal African slave trade and the Middle Passage and choose to instead express profound sorrow at the abhorrence of slavery while speaking at a dinner hosted by Jamaica’s Governor General, who is also the Queen’s representative there.
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge and Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness watch as Prince William, Duke of Cambridge speaks during his “abhorrent” remark at the dinner hosted by the Governor General of Jamaica at King’s House on March 23, 2022 in Kingston, Jamaica. (Photo by Samir Hussein – Pool/WireImage)
Cleverly done! Placate the masses with an almost apology, because that is what it was.
Sure William, we know slavery “should never have happened” but it did, and your family benefited tremendously from it, so what now?
The word reparations or reparative justice was completely ignored. Instead, what proponents of reparations got, boiled down to an almost apology or as we would say, “half-assed.”
Wife of Jamaican Prime Minister Juliet Holness (L) speaks to Prince William during a state dinner at Kings House in Kingston, Jamaica, March 23, 2022. (Photo by RICARDO MAKYN/AFP via Getty Images)
It’s one thing to say slavery was “abhorrent” or should never have happened, but it did, and the British Empire was the biggest proponent and beneficiary of it.
Between 1662 and 1807 Britain shipped 3.1 million Africans across the Atlantic Ocean in the Transatlantic Slave Trade to the Caribbean and into a life as slaves.
Wonder what’s the conversation? (L-R) Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Prince William, Duke of Cambridge and Governor General of Jamaica Patrick Allen speak during a dinner hosted by the Governor General of Jamaica at King’s House on March 23, 2022 in Kingston, Jamaica. (Photo by Toby Melville – Pool/Getty Images)
Strongly agreeing with your father, the Prince of Wales, who said in Barbados last year that the appalling atrocity of slavery forever stains our history, is not enough.
Talking about the pain that still runs deep but saying “Jamaica continues to forge its future with determination, courage and fortitude,” is also not enough.
Coming to the Caribbean with smiles and waves, dancing and drumming is also not enough, when the terrible wounds caused by slavery is still impacting generations since, including mentally.
The week-long tour of the Caribbean to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s platinum jubilee year, should be more than a tour and a photo op. It should have had a focus on reparative justice.
Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas, were all seized by Britain and remained under its rule with the Queen on the throne until they struggled to gain some form of independence. They are still not fully independent as the Queen remains the head of state of each country as the majority, many of whom are descendants of slaves, remain economically poor and mentally enslaved.
It is now time for these Caribbean nations to join Barbados in removing the Queen as their head of state and demanding, legally, if necessary, reparative justice from the monarchy and Britain.