Jamaican Leaders Demand Reparations For Slavery Ahead Of Royal Visit

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A group of well-known leaders in Jamaica are speaking out ahead of a Royal visit Tuesday (March 22), raising calls for an apology and reparations for slavery.

Dozens of professors, politicians and more are shunning the visit of Prince William and Kate on their week-long tour of the region that falls on the 60th anniversary of Jamaica's independence and 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II's coronation.

"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 mankind," a letter signed by 100 Jamaican leaders and published Sunday (March 20) reads, ABC News reported.

According to the outlet, the trip intended to strengthen ties with commonwealth nations –– some of whom are considering cutting ties with the British monarchy just like Barbados did in November.

William and Kate's cocoa farm tour planned for Saturday (March 19) was canceled after local communities in Belize spoke out agains the Royal visit. The couple's trip to Jamaica is coming under scrutiny as some say the nation is still waiting for an apology for slavery –– the first step in obtaining reparations, Jamaican lawmaker Mike Henry says.

"An apology really admits guilt," Henry told The Associated Press in a phone interview. Henry has been one of the leaders pushing to obtain reparations for Jamaica and estimates the British monarchy owes 7 billion pounds to the nation.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are supposed to be in Jamaica for two days and are slated to celebrate the legacy of Bob Marley –– another move that has angered people who point out the musician was an activist who "embodied advocacy and is recognized globally for the principles of human rights, equality, reparations, and repatriation," the letter states.

The group of leaders also wrote that they would be celebrating 60 years of independence while recognizing "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."

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