Jamaicans protest close to British High Commission | Loop Jamaica

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A small group of Jamaicans protested outside the British High Commission in Jamaica on Tuesday seeking apologies and reparations from the monarchy for the role the British Empire played in slavery.

Organised by the year-old Advocate Network, the protest action was joined by several other organisations and individuals, who all had their own goals they wanted to achieve.

The Advocate Network, however, had a list of 60 reasons for the apologies and reparations demands from the monarchy for Jamaicans. The 60 signifies the number of years since Jamaica gained independence from England.

The protest action took place hours before Prince William and wife Kate were scheduled to arrive in the island for a Royal visit, which is scheduled for three days.

According to Patricia Donald-Phillips, Communication Liaise for Advocate Network, the protest was to send a message to Prince William’s grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, that there are Jamaicans who detest the action of her empire for slavery.

“England has been a part of Jamaicans’ oppression, enslavement and when emancipation came, the owners of the plantations got their compensation and the people who did the work did not get a cent,” Donald-Phillips said.

“So we believe that an apology, although some says that an apology is just words, but we believe that words are powerful and words can destroy and words can heal, so apology is a good thought and need to be backed by substance.

“That is why we are calling for the positive response to the reparations requests for compensation,” she continued.

Among the 60 reasons cited for the demands are “human trafficking across the Atlantic Ocean, demographic disaster and genocide between 1655 and 1834, Zong Massacre in 1781, enabling Port Royal to become the richest and wickedest city in the world and causing high mortality on floating dungeons called slave ships”.

Meanwhile, Clement ‘Jawari’ Deslandes, of National Hero Marcus Garvey’s Universal Negro Improvement Association (UNIA), said the organisation joined the protest, to show support for the ancestors and all those who were without representation.

Deslandes called on all Jamaicans to ensure that the island abolish the Queen as Head of State.

“I am here today to condemn those of us, Black people, who refuse to stand up for our rights, denounce European colonisation, come from under the shackle if slavery. I am here to tell Jamaican people get up off your butts and stand up for your rights,” Deslandes said.

Elaine Thomas was protesting for a personal reason. She said her father was a part of the Windrush Generation and died in 2019. According to Thomas her father Alan, used to help her, but since his death she has not been receiving any assistance from the British government.

She said her father was a taxpaying worker in England and in joining the protest, she is hoping that her plight will be highlighted, as she is now in need of assistance.

“He died there and it is sad as the condition that I am living in, have me crying continuously,” Thomas said.

She stated that she heard British High Commissioner to Jamaica, Asif Ahmad, requesting that individuals who are in her situation contact the High Commission.

She said she has tried several other methods to reach Ahmad but all proved futile.