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An exercise in royal lip service

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The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge embarked on a royal visit to some of the former British colonies. These colonies are inclusive of Bahamas, Belize and Jamaica.

Their tours have been met with mixed reactions by persons in each country.

Many have flocked out to wave their hands, while others have come out to wave placards.

In Belize, a group of Indigenous persons staged a protest against the visit of the royal couple, rightfully stating that this was their traditional land that the British Empire stole from them when their country was renamed British Honduras.

In Jamaica, a small gathering of persons assembled outside of the British High Commission to demand an apology for colonialism and reparations for centuries of slavery that enriched the British Empire.

While both causes are just, the sad reality is that both the Royal Family and the British Government, will only ever pay lip service to any calls for reparations from Indigenous persons and those descendants of enslaved Africans.

Jamaican protesters demanded apologies and reparations from the royal couple. They got neither

Don’t take my word for it.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge attend the 1st Battalion Irish Guards' St Patrick's Day Parade at Mons Barracks, on March 17, 2022 in Aldershot, England. The royal couple are embarking on a tour to Central America and the Caribbean, even as some countries in the region mull cutting ties to the British monarchy (File photograph by Chris Jackson/Pool/AP)
Jamaicans protest to demand an apology and slavery reparations during a visit to the former British colony by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Tuesday. The two-day visit to Jamaica is part of a larger trip to the Caribbean region encouraged by the Queen as some countries debate cutting ties with the monarchy such as Barbados did late last year (Photograph by Collin Reid/AP)
A Jamaican protests outside the British Council to demand an apology and slavery reparations during a visit to the former British colony by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on Tuesday. The two-day visit to Jamaica is part of a larger trip to the Caribbean region encouraged by the Queen as some countries debate cutting ties with the monarchy like Barbados did late last year (Photograph by Collin Reid/AP)

In 2015, the British prime minister David Cameron paid a visit to Jamaica. When the subject of reparations was brought up, this was his reply: “I do hope that, as friends who have gone through so much together since those darkest of times, we can move on from this painful legacy and continue to build for the future.”

Since when did the enslaved and their enslavers become “friends”?

In 2021, Charles, the Prince of Wales, travelled to Barbados on the occasion of it becoming a republic. He had this to say: “From the darkest days of our past and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our history, the people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude.”

Neither the Prime Minister nor the Prince mentioned one word about reparations.

Royal lip service

The ironic fact of the matter is that the British government has showed a continued pattern of disdain for former and present residents of British Colonies

Don't take my word for it. Here are some historical examples:

• Up until 2002, residents of British colonies, were not allowed to freely live in Britain

• In 2018, the British Government, under Theresa May, attempted to deport hundreds of persons of Caribbean heritage who were born as British subjects and were residing in Britain. This was commonly known as the Windrush scandal

• Citizens of former British colonies are not allowed entry into Britain without successfully applying for a visa. Many are turned down

The reality is that Britain, France, Spain and the Netherlands, all countries that built wealth off the enslavement of Africans, have no intentions of making any form of financial compensation.

Ironically, those same countries have given more in financial support to those fleeing Ukraine over the past month than they have given, or will ever give, to those who are victims of 400 years of colonialism.

Without a doubt, during his tour of the Caribbean, William, the future King, will follow the script and offer the same royal lip service as his father.

Christopher Famous is the government MP for Devonshire East (Constituency 11). You can reach him on WhatsApp at 599-0901 or e-mail at carib_pro@yahoo.com

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Published March 25, 2022 at 7:49 am (Updated March 25, 2022 at 7:49 am)

An exercise in royal lip service

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