‘Not Resonant’: Silent Reception for Queen’s Platinum Jubilee in Jamaica

Boris Johnson has claimed that the queen’s platinum jubilee will cause people to celebrate “shamelessly” across the Commonwealth.

But, speaking on the eve of Britain’s four-day commemoration of the anniversary, critics said celebrations in many places were expected to be muted or non-existent.

The jubilee is expected to be particularly ignored in the Caribbean, where a reckless tour by the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge of Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas in March was met with protests, calls for slavery to be redressed and for the Queen to be removed. as head of state.

Rosalea Hamilton, an activist with the Advocates Network who organized protests for slavery reparations in Jamaica, said she has not seen any focus or attention on the jubilee, which she said “does not resonate” in Jamaica. The founding director of the Jamaican Institute of Law and Economics at the University of Technology said the country is “not in a jubilant mood.”

He said that “there is nothing to celebrate” and that for 70 years the country has been “dealing with the legacies of our colonial history” that still continue today.

“I have not heard of any celebration being done and if it is being done it is with a few people. It is not resonating. It’s not in the air, it’s not in the atmosphere,” she said.

Calling on the Queen to use the jubilee as an opportunity to apologize for Britain’s role in the slave trade and redefine the monarchy’s role, she said: “The greatest gift I could give Jamaica and really provide a justification for celebration is an apology. ”

The increased publicity around the monarchy as a result of the jubilee has only acted as “a reminder of the absence of an apology”, he said.

Tyrone Reid, associate editor of the Jamaican newspaper The Gleaner, said: “There are increasing calls to remove the Queen and ask for reparations.” The sentiment hadn’t changed, he said, but people felt more empowered to speak than in the past.

He called for the UK to sit down with Jamaica and have a conversation about reparations. “It’s not just a matter of sentiment,” she said.

Peter Espeut, a deacon and newspaper columnist, who was born the same year as the Queen’s coronation, said that longevity was nothing to celebrate and that he had not heard of parties, dinners or celebrations, saying it was not something people were “going to do”. to organize a party”, especially in Jamaica.

Researchers from the Visible Corona Project in the UK and the Caribbean have struggled to find evidence of many celebrations in the Caribbean.

Professor Philip Murphy, director of history and politics at the Institute for Historical Research, said while there would be some celebrations across the Commonwealth, they would be “pretty low key” and that much of the Caribbean is moving towards republicanism.

He said the combination of the Black Lives Matter movement following the police killing of George Floyd in the US, the recent “unfortunate” royal visits by the Cambridges and Prince Edward and Sophie, calls for reparations, and the aftermath of the departure of the UK by Duke and Duchess of Sussex had contributed to the lack of interest in celebrating the Queen.

“The great event to commemorate the jubilee in the Caribbean was these two ill-timed and rather unfortunate visits, first from the Cambridges and then from the Wessexes.”

More than 600 jubilee luncheons are planned in more than 80 Commonwealth countries, where lighthouses will also be lit, and the rest of the world.

But Dr. Velma McClymont, a writer, academic and activist who was born in Jamaica and was five years old when the country gained independence, said that once the celebrations were over, the same questions (about the transatlantic slave trade, an apology for slavery and reparations) remain.

“Henceforth she [the Queen] he understands that countries like Jamaica want to get away.”

The mood is also changing in other Commonwealth countries.

Just this week, Australia’s new prime minister, Anthony Albanese, a longtime Republican, created a “deputy minister for the republic,” sparking excitement among those who want the Queen removed as head of state.

Gareth Parker, host of the 6PR Breakfast radio show in Perth, said that while there was interest, “it was nowhere near fervor in Britain”.

Mainly, he said, it would be a “media event”.

“There is a bit of a generational divide, the royals are generally more beloved by older Australians, who grew up in an era before the Republican debates of the 1990s and many of whom have their own childhood memories of royal visits. ”, he added.

“Perhaps the institution is not as relevant to younger Australians, especially those who grew up or whose parents grew up in non-Commonwealth countries.”


Leave a Comment