‘Seh Yuh Sorry’
Listen to Today's Edition
British royals Prince William and his wife Kate toured Jamaica this week as part of a week-long Caribbean tour, a visit overshadowed by protests and calls for reparations for slavery, Reuters reported Wednesday.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are on a tour that coincides with the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. The first stop was in Belize and the last, over the weekend, will be the Bahamas.
Before they arrived in Jamaica, dozens marched in the capital to protest the visit and held banners with the phrase “seh yuh sorry” – a local phrase that urges Britain to apologize for its legacy of slavery.
“There are historical wrongs and they need to be addressed,” protest organizer Rosalea Hamilton said. Many of the protesters accused the couple of benefiting from the “blood, tears and sweat” of slaves.
The demonstrations come amid growing criticism of Britain’s colonial legacy in the Caribbean and efforts to move away from the British Commonwealth: In November, Barbados officially became a republic and removed Queen Elizabeth as the country’s head of state, according to BBC.
Meanwhile, Jamaica is also considering parting ways with the British monarchy. Last year, the government proposed plans to seek reparations from Britain for forcibly transferring an estimated 600,000 Africans to work as slaves on sugar cane and banana plantations that made fortunes for their British owners.
At the same time, a Bahamas committee called on the royal couple to acknowledge the British economy was “built on the backs” of past Bahamians and pay reparations, Bloomberg added.
The recent visit is seen as an attempt by Britain’s monarchy to persuade former British colonies to remain on as “realms,” despite calls of republicanism.