Open Letter from Jamaican Advocacy Group Requesting Prince William & the Duchess of Cambridge Kate apologizes for UK colonial past

Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate

Prince William & the Duchess of Cambridge Kate are set to visit Jamaica this week. Ahead of their visit, the Advocates Network released the open letter below signed by 100 people including doctors, entertainers, business people, lawyers, entrepreneurs, politicians, and religious leaders.

Open Letter to Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge Kate

Dear William and Kate:

We note with great concern your visit to our country Jamaica, during a period when we are still in the throes of a global pandemic and bracing for the full impact of another global crisis associated with the Russian/Ukraine war. Many Jamaicans are unaware of your visit as they struggle to cope with the horrendous fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, exacerbated by pre-existing social and economic hardships inherited from our colonial past.

We also note that your visit is part of the celebrations to mark the 70th Anniversary (Platinum Jubilee) of the Coronation of your grandmother and the 60th Anniversary of Jamaica’s Independence. We see no reason to celebrate 70 years of the ascension of your grandmother to the British throne because her leadership, and that of her predecessors, have perpetuated the greatest human rights tragedy in the history of humankind. Her ascension to the throne, in February 1952, took place 14 years after the 1938 labour uprisings against inhumane working/living conditions and treatment of workers; painful legacies of plantation slavery, which persist today. During her 70 years on the throne, your grandmother has done nothing to redress and atone for the suffering of our ancestors that took place during her reign and/or during the entire period of British trafficking of Africans, enslavement, indentureship and colonialization.

In fact, on September 30, 2015 former Prime Minister (PM) David Cameron addressed a joint sitting of both houses of the Jamaican Parliament, and told us to “move on from this painful legacy,” merely acknowledging the “horrors of slavery” and asserting British leadership in the abolition of slavery. Many of us were outraged and demanded an apology through several open letters by former PM PJ Patterson, Sir Hilary Beckles, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, and University of Technology, Jamaica professionals, as well as newspaper articles, including one by Dr Henley Morgan.[1] We still await an apology for the offensive and insensitive statements. We have not forgotten! As Cameron correctly noted: “these wounds run very deep.”

We, therefore, will not participate in your Platinum Jubilee celebration!

We will, however, celebrate 60 years of freedom from British colonial domination. We are saddened that more progress has not been made given the burden of our colonial inheritance. We nonetheless celebrate the many achievements of great Jamaicans who rejected negative, colonial self-concepts and who self-confidently succeeded against tremendous odds. We will also remember and celebrate our freedom fighters, including our National Heroes, who bravely fought against British tyrannical rule and abominable human rights abuses. We welcome you to join this celebration.

You, who may one day lead the British Monarchy, are direct beneficiaries of the wealth accumulated by the Royal family over centuries, including that stemming from the trafficking and enslavement of Africans. You therefore have the unique opportunity to redefine the relationship between the British Monarchy and the people of Jamaica. If you choose to do so, we urge you to start with an apology and recognition of the need for atonement and reparations. There are many reasons why we see this is an important and necessary way forward for you both and the generations to come. We have attached a list of only sixty (60) reasons in commemoration of our 60 years of freedom from British colonialization.

We urge you to reflect carefully on these 60 reasons why you should apologize and begin a process of reparatory justice. It is unconscionable that enslavers have been compensated under the Slave Compensation Act (1837), with some payments converted into 3.5% government annuities which lasted until 2015, yet to date there has been no compensation paid to the descendants of enslaved Africans.

We are of the view that an apology for British crimes against humanity, including but not limited to, the exploitation of the indigenous people of Jamaica, the transatlantic trafficking of Africans, the enslavement of Africans, indentureship and colonialization, is necessary to begin a process of healing, forgiveness, reconciliation and compensation.

We encourage you to act accordingly and just “sey yuh sorry!” Boldly lead a youthful generation in the hope that it is possible to create a future where: “the philosophy which hold one race superior and another inferior is finally and permanently discredited and abandoned,” and where there is no “first class and second class citizens of any nation,” and where “the colour of a man’s skin is of no more significance than the colour of his eyes” and, finally, where “basic human rights are equally guaranteed to all without regard to race.” These words were used by Emperor Haile Selassie I in his speech to the United Nations General Assembly on 4 October 1963, and was made popular by Bob Marley in the song “War.” As a Rastafarian, Bob Marley embodied advocacy and is recognized globally for the principles of human rights, equality, reparations and repatriation. Use these words to create a new narrative and reality of PEACE for your generation and generations to come.

With Great Expectations!

The Advocates Network:  #AdvocatesNetwork  #Jamaica60  #WeNaaEaseUp

1.       Prof Rosalea Hamilton, Advocates Network

2.       Nora Blake, JP, Convener, No 9-Day Wonder, Advocates Network

3.       Prof Opal Palmer Adisa, Adisa Consulting/Thursdays in Black, Advocates Network

4.       Patricia Phillips, Advocates Network

5.       P N. Grant, Advocates Network

6.       Oberlene Smith, Advocates Network

7.       Fr. Sean Major-Campbell, J.P. Anglican Priest & Advocate for Human Rights

8.       Judith Wedderburn, Gender and Development Advocate

9.       Diedre Hart-Chang, Human Rights Advocate

10.    Dr. Henley Morgan, Social Entrepreneur

11.    Prof Trevor Munroe, Civil Society Advocate

12.    Mike Henry, Reparations Advocate for Chattel Slavery, One of the 2 longest serving MP in Jamaica

13.    Jacqui Samuels-Brown, Attorney at Law

14.    Hugh Small, Attorney-at-law

15.    Bert Samuels, Attorney at Law

16.    Manley (Big Youth) Buchanan, Musician and Freedom Advocate

17.    Ernie Smith, Singer/Songwriter

18.    Professor Grethel Bradford, Human Rights Advocate & Trauma Professional

19.    Dr Anna Kasafi Perkins, Roman Catholic Theologian and Ethicist

20.    Rev Jayson Downer, President, MoGAVA (Men of God Against Violence and Abuse)

21.    Linnette Vassell, Gender & Social Justice Activist

22.    Jeanette Calder, Accountability Advocate

23.    Enith M. Williams, Founder/Executive Director, Reparations Finance Lab

24.    Emma Lewis, Writer and Blogger

25.    Dr. Maziki Thame, Senior Lecturer, UWI, Mona

26.    Indi Mclymont-Lafayette, Development Communications Specialist

27.    Rukie Wilson, Jamaica Diaspora Member in Washington, D.C.

28.    Clarence Reynolds, President, Rennalls International LLC

29.    Rachel Dolcine, MPA, CPM, CEO, Compass Consulting & Training Solutions

30.    Rosemarie Francis-Binder, Stand Up for Jamaica, Germany

31.    Clinton Hutton, Scholar

32.    Mekelia Green, Attorney-at-Law

33.    Shirley Duncan, Advocates Network

34.    Hugh Thompson, Retired Jamaican

35.    Pat Bernard, Attorney at Law

36.    Patrick Euston, Retired Jamaican

37.    Hyman Wright, aka “Jah Life,” “Backawall,” Music Producer, Entrepreneur

38.    Desmond Shakespeare (Shaks), Industrial Engineer

39.    Lorna Wilson-Morgan PhD, Security Advisor (Retired)

40.    George Golding, Entertainment Consultant

41.    Rev. Newton G.A. Dixon, African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church

42.    Kenneth Delano Rowe, Pan-Africanist

43.    Imani Duncan-Price, Gender and Development Activist, Former Senator

44.    Mishka Parkins, Consultant, Human Rights Advocate

45.    Marvia Parkins, Educator, Human Rights Advocate

46.    Paul Irving, Educational Psychologist

47.    KaBu Ma’at Kheru, Talk Show Host

48.    Lois E. Grant (Nzingha) Communications Consultant

49.    Lorna E Green, Convenor, Women Business Owner Ltd.

50.    Andrew Neita, Engineer

51.    Copeland Fisher, Retired Jamaican

52.    Paul Burke, PNP NEC Life Member

53.    Glynis Hay, Educator

54.    Marcia Swaby, Retired Teacher

55.    Christopher Malcolm, Jamaican without allegiance to the Crown

56.    Claudette Cameron-Stewart, Jamaican Diaspora Organizer

57.    Mark Cameron, Co Convener, UIC

58.    Andre Simpson, CEO, Higher Thinka

59.    Gillian Fox-Crosskill, Human Resources Manager

60.    Joseph L Patterson, UIC Jamaica President

61.    Eroll Walters, Jamaican Diaspora

62.    Sharon Wolfe, Administrator

63.    Dr Calvin Solomon, Medical Doctor

64.    Acinette Nelson, Jamaica Diaspora

65.    Yola Grey Baker, Fashion Designer

66.    Anthony White, Jamaica Research Project

67.    Bevenisha Moodie-Osawaru, Management Consultant

68.    Dr Caroline Dyche (PhD), Lecturer, UWI Mona

69.    Roy Phillips, retired Civil Servant

70.    Sidonie Donald-DePass, retired Matron, Spanish Town Hospital

71.    Victor J.N. Cummings, Former Member of Parliament

72.    Elaine Wint, Corporate Trainer/Coach

73.    Saba Igbe, Writer, Student

74.    Jonathan P. H. Burke, St. Mary Farmer

75.    Osmond Tomlinson, Medical Doctor

76.    Jacqueline Francis, Medical Doctor

77.    Dr Paul Allwood, Jamaica Diaspora

78.    Kenyama Brown, Minister of Foreign Affairs, The State of the African Diaspora (SOAD)

79.    Tehuti Ra Hujae, member of the People’s Anti-Corruption Movement

80.    Topaz Cole, Natural by Nature’s Farm and Agro processing

81.    Glen Brown (GB), Human Rights Advocate

82.    Donna AM Mattis, Teacher, Human and Social Rights Activist, Blogger, Member of People’s Anti-Corruption Movement

83.    Richard Marsh, Marine Biologist

84.    Arlene McKenzie, Freelance Community Tourism Consultant

85.    Maxine Stowe, Director, Ethio Africa Diaspora Union Millennium Council aka Rastafari Millenium Council

86.    Priest Wesley Kelly, Haile Selassie 1 Royal Ethiopian Judah Coptic Church

87.    Priest Bongo Leo, Stony Gut, Nyahbinghi Tabernacle

88.    Hugh Johnson, Rep, Bernard Lodge Farmers Group and Immediate Past President SBAJ

89.    Osunya Minott, Black Roots Records

90.    Carlton Livingston, Executor, Bunny Wailer Estate

91.    Angela Pinnock, Medical Professional

92.    Errol Kong, aka Ricky Storm Jah warrior

93.    Trudy Knockless, Business of Law Journalist, NY

94.    Camica Fuller, Jamaican mother

95.    Theo Chambers, Wellness Consultant and Humanitarian

96.    Sharon Parris-Chambers, Founding Director, Temple of Inner Peace and Humanitarian

97.    Donna Brown, Jamaica Diaspora

98.    Andrea Prendergast, Mother

99.    Dr Joan Shaw-Johnson, Jamaican Citizen

100. Stand Up For Jamaica (non-profit organization)

The Advocates Network is an unincorporated, non-partisan alliance of individuals and organizations advocating for human rights and good governance to improve the socio-economic conditions of the people of Jamaica and to transform lives. Our core objective is to forge an effective, broad-based collaboration of individuals and civil society organizations to support human rights and good governance issues. For more information, email: [email protected]

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