Rastas spit fire at royal visit
Rastafarians in Bobo Hill, St Andrew, yesterday said that they are not pleased with the red carpet-style welcome that is in place for British royals Prince William and his wife, Kate Middleton, who arrive in the island today for a three-day tour.
There are Jamaicans who plan to shun the royal couple in a similar manner to what took place in Belize, one of the Caribbean countries being toured by William and Kate. The royal couple was forced to cancel one of their stops in Belize because of a staged protest.
In Bobo Hill yesterday, priests Shimron Davidson, Christopher Morant and Norman Lamont argued that fanfare surrounding the royals' visit is an indication that Jamaica's independent status is nothing but a facade. The country will celebrate 60 years of independence from Britain on August 6. However, the Queen remains the head of State.
"Just like how the people dem block dem inna Belize, is that we need in Jamaica. The whole masses of Jamaicans - Ethiopians, Africans weh dem call Jamaicans through slavery and the slave trade - we fi come out and protest against the Queen and har family dem, and mek dem know seh we are not happy in what they are doing," said Priest Davidson.
Rastafarians have been leading the call for reparations from Britain for the atrocities of slavery and the slave trade. They have also been unrelenting in their calls to be repatriated to the homeland, Africa.
Priest Morant described the royal visit, which coincides with the celebration of Queen Elizabeth II's 70th year on the throne, as "distasteful". He said that Rastafarians will stage peaceful protests while William and Kate are on the island. He said that the aim is to ensure that Britain, especially William, the heir to the throne, understands that they are serious about reparations and repatriation.
"Before he ascends the throne, we want him to begin to use his good offices and his integrity to commission and command the Jamaican Government to facilitate repatriation and reparation, according to the agenda of the Rastafarian race of people," Morant said.
"The other day l was looking at the Queen's wealth that she has now. It was most naturally built from black people's blood. All that she is enjoying now is the blood, sweat and tears of innocent African people who showed them nothing but love when they came to Africa. And because of love, we have been victimised and abused because they came with treachery, hatred and all manner of evil undercurrent," the Rastafarian said.
"So they are enjoying now a great grandeur at the expense of our foreparents, and they want to act as if we are not to feel the hurt and pain now, but they are still benefiting from those things they have robbed from us, and from the forced labour and the beating and the trauma brought upon our parents and their children," he added.