I can’t imagine why Jamaica would consider remaining with the Commonwealth. I truly do not understand why the Government is investing money in hosting the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge at this time when in Jamaica, every day, so many people go hungry, some literally starving as a result of COVID-19, when thousands of children have not gotten an education because they don’t have Internet access and now need remedial support, when so many roads are in need of repair, when violence, terror, and fear of illegally smuggled guns are rampant, when our beaches are eroding, and most citizens do not access to them anyway.
Why should Jamaicans be subjected to the rhetoric of the Duke and the Duchess about staying in the Commonwealth? What has the Commonwealth done for us except extracted our natural resources, brutalised us with colonial institutions, and exploited and overworked our African ancestors for more than 300 years?
Unless the Duke and Duchess are coming with an Official apology from Queen Elizabeth II and Britain, unless they are prepared to offer viable reparations in the form of at least four new state-of-the-art hospitals, providing every rural school with Internet and indoor sanitation, solar power, and a laptop for each child, repair all our roads, provide irrigation and machinery for all our farmers, provide mental health care for the many still dazed from the trauma of slavery, provide free tertiary education for every Jamaican child wanting to pursue such course of study, and other skills training for those who opt for other choices, building at least two museums and returning stolen artifacts, and augment the salaries of teachers, nurses and police , then I am afraid I can’t welcome them, nor sanction our government expending our money to host them.
But even with these overdue concessions, I am completely against staying with the Commonwealth. We were robbed of our African names, our religion, which was maligned, our language, and repeatedly lied to that we came from the ‘Dark Continent’, instead of being told of Africa’s vast natural wealth, gold, diamond, oil, natural gas, uranium, platinum, copper, cobalt, iron, bauxite and cocoa, that were and continue to be extracted to enrich Europe and the Americas. We were not told about Africa’s diverse civilizations, the Kingdom of Kush, Land of Punt, Carthage in Tunisia, Mali and Songhai Empires, the Great Zimbabwe so many others. We were deliberately miseducated and Christianity used to oppress us and deny us an education and destroying our family structure.
I hail Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley and I hope our own government and the rest of this region will take the brave step she did and stand up as a true independent nation, not simple changing the Union Jack for the Black, Green and Gold. It is time to right history and once and for all throw off the colonial legacy that has unchained and dragging us down. Why should much needed resources go to pay a Governor General who represents the Queen?
The Commonwealth was formally constituted by the London Declaration in 1949 to maintain its power and control over its former territories. When has the Queen really represented, cared for or protected us? What are the tangible and evident benefits of remaining under the Commonwealth? None!
Although many want to sweep slavery into the sea and say we must get over ourselves, we endured 179 years of severe brutality and terror, rape and mutilation, worked to death without pay, and at the end, our British oppressor were compensated handsomely for the loss of our labour and we were tossed aside with no land, no food, no home.
Jamaican scholar Orlando Patterson recently said that under British enslavement an estimated five million Jamaicans were lost to us. We have endured 400 years of colonialism and neo-colonialism that has made Britain one of the wealthiest countries in the world, and still to date we have not received an apology or any compensation. Shame, I say to the queen and Britain! Shame I say to the Duke and Duchess for coming here with such a bold-faced request! Shame I say to us for welcoming them and acting like beggars!
We must not allow our children or our people to stand in the sun and wave flags. We must be resolute and stand as a proud people in honour of Nanny, Tacky, Paul Bogle, and all the nameless heroes who risked their lives for us. If we are serious about development, liberation and the sovereignty of our people, if we understand what true Independence means, let us not dishonour ourselves, not subject our people to insult, not throw away needed money and resources on those who have continuously exploited and abused us.
Let Jamaica stand as a proud Independent nation. Let us get from under the Queen’s frock and the British Empire boots.