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Jamaica looks to cut ties with British monarchy

March 24, 2022

The Jamaican prime minister told Prince William and Kate that he wants Jamaica to be fully independent, which would mean breaking ties with Queen Elizabeth II. There was no immediate reaction from the royal couple.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness and his wife Juliet, at his office in Kingston, Jamaica, on day five of their tour of the Caribbean on behalf of the Queen to mark her Platinum Jubilee
The royal couple's visit to Jamaica has been overshadowed by protests demanding reperations to the former British colonyImage: Jane Barlow/empics/picture alliance

Jamaica wants to be a fully independent country, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness told Prince William and Kate during their visit to the Caribbean country Wednesday.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are currently on a week-long tour in the Caribbean representing the royal family. The trip coincides with Queen Elizabeth II's Platinum Jubilee, marking 70 years as queen of the United Kingdom and head of the Commonwealth this year.

Jamaica's announcement of its intention to become a republic would mean removing the queen as head of state.

Prince William and Kate, who flanked Holness on either side when he made the surprise announcement, did not react to it, except for a couple of head nods.

Holness says Jamaica is 'moving on' as citizens demand reparations

During his meeting with the royal couple, Holness said there were "unresolved" issues that needed attention.

"We are moving on," Holness said.

"We intend to..fulfill our true ambitions and destiny as an independent, developed, prosperous country," Holness added.

Prominent Jamaican leaders have also published an open letter to demand reparations from the UK more recently, but the announcement by the Jamaican prime minister appears to have taken them too by surprise.

"I did not know that the prime minister was going to say what he said today. I think it is a very important step forward," Carla Gullota, director of a human rights group, which is also a signatory to the letter, told the Associated Press agency.

Royal couple met with protests

A small group of people lodged their protest before the British High Commission in the Jamaican capital city Kingston on Tuesday, as the royal couple was scheduled to arrive in the country.

They held up messages demanding reparations and an apology from the UK for enslaving millions of Africans, often in harsh conditions, during its rule over Jamaica for more than 200 years.

Over the years Britain trafficked millions of Africans to the Americas and the Caribbean nations. The majority of Jamaicans are descendants of slaves who were brought there.

Barbados removed Queen Elizabeth II as its sovereign last year, becoming the first Caribbean country since the 1970s to abolish its ties to the monarchy.

AP contributed to this report.

Edited by: Kieran Burke

Roshni Majumdar Roshni is a writer at DW's online breaking news desk and covers stories from around the world.@RoshniMaj