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Jamaica's PM says royal visit 'gives opportunity for issues to be addressed' following protests

Jamaica’s prime minister has told the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge that their visit is an “opportunity for issues to be addressed” after they were met by protests on the island.

Andrew Holness and his wife Juliet met Prince William and Kate at his office in Kingston on Wednesday amid the couple’s Platinum Jubilee tour.

He said Jamaica was “very happy to have you” but noted that “the people are very expressive” and “you will have seen the spectrum of expression yesterday”.

It came after the Cambridges were met by demonstrators demanding reparations for slavery and further opposition from locals in Belize, which saw their planned visit to a cacao farm being cancelled.

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with the Prime Minister of Jamaica Andrew Holness and his wife Juliet, during a meeting at his office in Kingston, Jamaica, on day five of their tour of the Caribbean on behalf of the Queen to mark her Platinum Jubilee. Picture date: Wednesday March 23, 2022.
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge with Prime Minister Andrew Holness and his wife Juliet

Mr Holness said: “Jamaica is a very free and liberal country.

“The people are very expressive and I’m certain that you will have seen the spectrum of expression yesterday, which as you would know is unresolved.

“Your presence gives an opportunity for those issues to be placed in context, put front and centre, and to be addressed as best as we can.”

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William and Kate greeted by protesters in Jamaica

He added that like Barbados, who recently gained its independence, Jamaica wants to “fulfil our true ambition and destiny as an independent, developed and prosperous country”.

Sky News royal correspondent Rhiannon Mills said the interaction was “not your usual bilat in front of the cameras”.

Read more: Eyewitness – William and Kate looked in their element in Trench Town

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge shake hands with locals during a visit Trench Town
The royal couple shake hands with locals during a visit to Trenchtown
Protesters demand slavery reparations as Prince William and Kate visit Jamaica
Protesters demand slavery reparations during the Cambridges’ Jamaica visit

Kate and William earlier visited Trenchtown, the birthplace of reggae, where despite earlier demonstrations, they were crowded by well-wishers.

The couple will later visit Shortwood Teacher Training College for an event showcasing the early years development of children on the island.

They will also tour Spanish Town Hospital, which is celebrating its 70th birthday this year, and where frontline staff will tell of how they responded to the coronavirus pandemic.


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