Prince Charles has succeeded his mother Queen Elizabeth to the British throne as King. However, the elevation met with massive opposition from former British colonies. This has prompted calls from leaders and active social groups belonging to former British Colonies in the Caribbean to eliminate the monarch as their head of state and also for Britain to pay slavery reparations.
Queen Elizabeth died Thursday at the age of 96 after ruling for 70 years. She is United Kingdom’s longest ruling monarch. At this juncture, leaders of countries like Jamaica and Antigua and Barbuda would mourn the queen’s demise. They have also ordered their respective flags to be half-staff till she is buried. This is sharply contrasted in certain areas where the role of a remote monarch is questioned in the affairs of the regions in 21st century. In a summit in Kigali, Rwanda initially this year, some Commonwealth leaders showed discomfort about the passing of leadership of the 54-nation club from Elizabeth to Charles.
This continued in March during an eight-day tour by Prince William, the next heir-to-the-throne, and wife Kate Middleton, to Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas which witnessed calls for compensatory payments along with an apology for slavery.
Talking about some hope for the country, Jamaican reparations advocate Rosalea Hamilton mentioned Charles’ comments at the Kigali conference, where he “appalled the atrocity of slavery”, to be some hope as he showed grief over it. She noted that the King would learn from the history and would feel the saddened impact endured by the various nations and would take a move towards reparations.
Between the 15th and the 19th centuries, more than 10 million Africans were forced into the Atlantic slave trade by European countries. Those who made it through the harrowing voyage were made to work on plantations in the Americas and the Caribbean.