Photo: Samir Hussein/Samir Hussein/WireImage
Well that’s clumsy. Last weekend, Prince William and Kate Middleton arrived in Belize to kick off their Caribbean tour to celebrate the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee and strengthen ties with the Commonwealth, but things don’t go as planned. foreseen. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have canceled their first official event in Belize after local residents protested their visit. Now Jamaican leaders are rejecting Tuesday’s royal visit to the island, and the royal couple are facing direct opposition to the monarchy.
Let’s start with Belize, where William and Kate were scheduled to visit the Akte’il Ha Cocoa Farm in Indian Creek on Sunday, March 20. The event was suddenly canceled on Friday. They apparently planned to take a helicopter to Indian Creek, but local Q’eqehi locals and Mayans reportedly disputed their landing site, saying they had not been consulted. “We don’t want them to land on our land; that’s the message we want to send,” Indian Creek Village Chairman Sebastian Shol said. Daily mail. “They could land anywhere, but not on our land.” Youth leader Dionisio Shol added, “The organizer said we should let them use the football pitch and people come to our village and it should look good. Giving orders to the leaders of the community did not suit the community. »
The land itself is also a point of contention. It is technically owned by Flora and Fauna International (FFI), which The Guardian described as “a conservation charity of which Prince William is patron”. The organization reportedly purchased the land from private owners in December 2021, saying it wanted to preserve local wildlife and protect local residents. However, the Daily mail reports that there are 12,000 acres of land that FFI has allegedly set aside as “private property” and refuses to let the local community take ownership. FFI released a statement committing to “open and ongoing dialogue” with residents. Footage from a local protest included a sign reading ‘Colonial legacy of theft continues with Prince and FFI’.
The Caribbean tour would be part of the monarchy’s efforts to maintain favor in the region after Barbados voted to impeach the queen as head of state last November. But so far it appears to be having the opposite effect, with more Commonwealth countries considering cutting ties with Britain altogether. On Sunday, Jamaican leaders issued an open letter rejecting William and Kate’s planned two-day visit, citing the long history of British slavery and colonialism on the island.
“We see no reason to celebrate 70 years of your grandmother’s ascension to the British throne, as we believe that her leadership and that of her predecessors perpetuated the greatest human rights tragedy in history. of mankind,” reads the letter, which was reprinted in the Independent. If the monarchy wants to “redefine” its relationship with the Jamaican people, the letter suggests the royal family should “start with apologies” and reparations, which seems like a better strategy than tasting chocolate and dancing.
After a few days in Belize, William and Kate arrived in Jamaica on Tuesday, reportedly hours after Jamaicans protested the visit outside the British High Commission in Kingston. Public calls for reparations and independence reached the royal couple during their formal meeting with Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness on Wednesday. “Jamaica is, as you see, a country proud of its history and very proud of what we have achieved,” Holness told William. “And we are moving on and we intend to… fulfill our true ambitions and our destiny of becoming an independent, developed and prosperous country.” In one video obtained of the exchange, William accepted the Prime Minister’s statements and nodded silently, and he is expected to mention calls for independence and the issue of slavery in a speech on Wednesday evening, according to People.
William and Kate are due to visit the Bahamas on Thursday.