A journalist is sounding the alarm that Queen Elizabeth could soon be removed as the head of state of Jamaica as local politicians plan to push ahead with turning the country into a republic by August.
Noel Phillips, Good Morning Britain‘s North American correspondent, says he’s heard rumblings that Jamaica will begin to remove their ties to the monarchy as soon as Prince William and Kate Middleton leave the island.
In a segment posted to Twitter, Phillips commented on the couple’s current Caribbean tour, saying, “the timing just doesn’t seem to be right. The people here in Jamaica, they don’t want William and Kate here.”
“They don’t have a problem with the Queen, they have a problem with the institution. They see the British monarchy as an institution that has long oppressed them and they want reparations, they also want an apology, and they feel they’ve been asking for these things for an awful long time and until now there’s been no acknowledgement of their suffering or pain.”
Phillips continued, adding that he expects to see a lot of people “taking to the streets” in protest of the visit before he drops a major bombshell: “A source within the Prime Minister’s government who has told me that as soon as they leave Jamaica will begin the process of removing the Queen as head of state.”
The Independent also reported it has talked to inside sources that confirm Phillips’ news.
Although there has been no official confirmation, Phillips says the Queen’s removal as head of state could be a “swift process” and could happen as early as August, which marks Jamaica’s 60th independence anniversary month.
A group of 100 Jamaican business leaders, doctors, musicians and politicians penned an open letter calling for slavery reparation payments and an apology for colonialism from the monarchs.
“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,” the letter, written by the Advocates Network, states.
And on Tuesday, local outlets shared photos and videos from the protest at the British High Commission in St. Andrew.
Jamaica lawmaker Mike Henry, who has long led an effort to obtain reparations that he estimates at more than seven billion pounds, told The Associated Press in a phone interview that an apology is only the first step for what he described as “abuse of human life and labour.”
“An apology really admits that there is some guilt,” he said.
During their two-day stay in Jamaica, Prince William and Kate are expected to celebrate Bob Marley’s legacy, a move that also has riled some Jamaicans.
“As a Rastafarian, Bob Marley embodied advocacy and is recognized globally for the principles of human rights, equality, reparations and repatriation,” stated the letter of those demanding an apology.
The group said that it would be celebrating 60 years of freedom from Britain, adding that it is 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.”
The Caribbean tour marks the first major overseas trip for William and Kate since before the pandemic began.
Local opposition forced the royal couple to cancel one of their first tour stops Saturday, after a protest was staged on Friday opposing the couple’s visit to Akte‘il Ha cacao farm in Indian Creek village in the foothills of the Maya Mountains.
Protesters were also upset that the couple planned to land their helicopter on a nearby soccer field without consultation.
“We don’t want them to land on our land, that’s the message that we want to send,” Indian Creek chairman Sebastian Shol told the Daily Mail on Friday. “They could land anywhere but not on our land.”
The trip takes place at a crucial time, as several nations within the Commonwealth have considered cutting ties with the British monarchy.
Although the Queen is highly regarded across the region, Britain is accused by many of — at best — a callous attitude towards its former colonies. That feeling has been heightened by the U.K.’s treatment of many Caribbean immigrants who came to Britain after the Second World War, helping to rebuild a war-shattered country.
In recent years, some people from the Caribbean who had lived legally in Britain for decades were denied housing, jobs or medical treatment, and in some cases deported, because they didn’t have paperwork to prove their status.
The British government has apologized and agreed to pay compensation, but the scandal has caused deep anger, both in the U.K. and in the Caribbean.
Her Majesty was formally removed as head of state in Barbados in November. Prince Charles was in attendance at the handover ceremony as guest of honour.
Kensington Palace has yet to publicly address the protesters’ concerns.
— With files from The Associated Press