Instead of visiting Jamaica, the duke and duchess should stay in the UK


Call me a cynic, but it hardly seems likely that the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have decided to visit Jamaica now just to say thank you while Her Majesty The Queen celebrates her Platinum Jubilee.

If you believe that, there’s a Big Ben-like clock in the middle of Half-Way Tree Square in Jamaica that I’d be happy to sell you for a bargain.

Jamaica’s Governor General Sir Patrick Allen announced that the Royals would pay an official visit to Jamaica between March 22 and March 24, 2022. There are only a few days left until then.

According to the King’s House, the planned visit is part of celebrations marking the 70th anniversary of the Queen’s coronation and the 60th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence.

The Queen has visited Jamaica six times, most recently in 2002 for her Golden Jubilee. Jamaica will be one of three Caribbean countries – including Belize and the Bahamas – that the Duke and Duchess will visit in 2022.

That’s why I believe the Duke and Duchess should stay home instead.

Imagine you live in a house – it’s disputed who actually owns the house – and you can’t control who visits you. People just yell at you and say we’re coming over and you’re forced to make arrangements. We are 22 years old in the 21st century. Some things have to change. Independent or quasi-independent countries must be shown a degree of respect that allows them to chart their own course.

If the government at the time really had a say, they probably wouldn’t schedule the visit at this point. This is undoubtedly a politically inopportune time for the government of Andrew Holness, with heated talks about converting Jamaica to a republic ahead of our 60th anniversary of independence. But it seems a propitious time for a monarchy looking for relevance. Even if they wouldn’t admit it.

Buckingham Palace maintains that the matter of the Jamaican head of state is solely a matter for the Jamaican government and people, sections of the British media report.

If so, then why the trip dubbed the Caribbean Charm Offensive? The visit may be perceived by some as simply insulting. The truth is that many Jamaicans are indifferent to the visit. Only time will tell if the trip will be a royal flop or a royal success.

Interestingly, the drive to get Jamaica to shed these remaining colonial remnants and rise to republican status is fueled in part by an unofficial rivalry between Barbados and Jamaica. And it’s been finding its voice on social media platform Twitter lately.

Perhaps Will and Kate should consider staying at home and planning another visit to coincide with the ceremony commemorating the new Jamaican republic. That would show respect for the people of Jamaica and their sovereign right to determine who rules as head of state.

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A British media report quoted a royal source as saying the Cambridges share the “institutional view” that Jamaica must alone decide its future and that the tour’s focus is on the Platinum Jubilee. And to thank the people of each country for the support she has shown the Queen over these many years.

If that’s true, I think William and Kate should consider sending a letter in the mail. That would work just fine.

Finally, it is truly sad that as the country approaches 60 years of independence, we are still debating why we remain married to the monarchy and how we can divorce the Queen as head of state.

A head of state should never just visit a country, he or she should live there.

Tyrone Reid is a multi-award-winning investigative journalist and Associate Editor – Investigations at The Jamaica Gleaner

https://www.independent.co.uk/voices/jamaica-independence-queen-royals-duke-b2039182.html Instead of visiting Jamaica, the duke and duchess should stay in the UK

Caroline Bleakley

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