Prince William addressed the protest in Jamaica over the British royal family’s association with the slave trade by expressing his “profound sorrow,” adding that “it should never have happened.”
Speaking at a dinner in Jamaica surrounded by dignitaries, William said, “I strongly agree with my father, the Prince of Wales who said in Barbados last year that the appalling atrocity of slavery forever stains our history. I want to express my profound sorrow. Slavery was abhorrent. And it should never have happened. “
This comes after some Jamaicans protested the royal couple’s arrival to the Caribbean nation on Tuesday and demanded reparations and an apology for the slave trade and colonialism while mounting 60 reasons why Queen Elizabeth ll should no longer be the country’s head of state.
William stopped short of apologizing, but added, “While the pain runs deep, Jamaica continues to forge its future with determination, courage and fortitude.”
William promised to further address the discussion on International Day of Remembrance of the Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade scheduled next week.
Following Barbados’ removal of Queen Elizabeth as head of state in November, Jamaica is in discussions to do the same. Reports are that Prime Minister Andrew Holding has already given instructions to reform the constitution for the island nation to become a republic which may require a referendum.
Holness told William during a photoshoot, “There are issues here which as you would know are unresolved. But Jamaica is as you would see, a country that is very proud…and we’re moving on. And we intend…to fulfill our true ambition of being an independent, fully developed and prosperous country.”
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge board the RAF Voyager Plane for Jamaica this afternoon, where demonstrators are demanding reparations for the slavery sins of the royal family.
Prince William and wife Kate left Belize, bound for Jamaica the second stop of their Caribbean Tour.
Protesters held signs like, “Seh yuh sorry,” and “60 reasons to go back home” in front of the British High Commission in Kingston where organisers say the monarchy should apologize for “the exploitation of Jamaica, the transatlantic trafficking of Africans, the enslavement of Africans, indentureship and colonialization.”
The tour which began on Saturday, has spurred reaction from Caribbean people who believe the enslavement and colonialism of its people deserves acknowledgement by the Queen and her family who benefitted from its ‘blood, sweat and tears.’
Famous Jamaican musician Beenie Man told Good Morning Britain that his countrymen want nothing to do with the Queen because the British monarch has done nothing for the country.
“Jamaicans nuh want the queen, me can tell you that. Them nuh like be controlled by nobody. If Harry did deh yah, people would a react different, people would a go meet Harry. But William, nobody nuh want see that.”
He added: “We are just here, controlled by the British, ruled by the British law when you go in the court. It’s all about the Queen and the Queen this and the Queen that, but what are they doing for Jamaica? They are not doing anything for us.”
This comes after a small but similar protest in Belize happened where villagers asked William to leave the land which in dispute with an organization in which he is a patron.
The couple’s next stop is the Bahamas on Thursday.