Just last week a white couple, William and Kate, went on a Caribbean cruise. Smiling, carefree people, they were surprised by the intense hostility and the relentless contempt they received from the dark-skinned natives. William, not incidentally, is the grandson of a woman named Elizabeth. Elizabeth has claimed – and for many years, few disputed the claim – that her full name is “Elizabeth II, by the Grace of God, of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of Her other Realms and Territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth, Defender of the Faith.” Her “realms and territories” include the Caribbean countries of Belize, Jamaica, and the Bahamas. William and Kate (whom some call the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge) had traveled to the Caribbean to celebrate the seventy-year anniversary of Elizabeth’s reign over these realms and territories, and to ensure that by the time he, William, inherits his grandmother’s royal mantle something still remains of his family's name, and their empire.
In late December 1831, white Jamaican planters slept restlessly in their beds. Rumors had long been circulating of disquiet among the enslaved Africans residing in plantations across the island. Before they knew it, the island would be set ablaze as tens of thousands armed themselves to fight for their freedom. As it became known, the Christmas Rebellion (or Baptist War, named so after the faith of many of its key conspirators) was the largest uprising of enslaved Africans in the history of the British West Indies, and directly influenced the abolition of slavery in 1833 and full emancipation in 1838.
The Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley recently announced that her country was not sending their Foreign Minister to Jamaica in order to attend a meeting with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Mottley, citing Barbados' commitment to remaining neutral and non-aggression towards other nations, said her government would not take part in the U.S.' attempts to divide the Caribbean region.
Ahead of President Obama’s trip to Jamaica this week, a new paper from the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR) finds that Jamaica is running the most austere budget in the world, with a primary surplus of 7.5 percent, due to its IMF agreement, and that the government’s interest payments on the debt and austerity have brought public investment to a low. The paper, “Partners in Austerity: Jamaica, the United States and the International Monetary Fund” by Jake Johnston, notes that Jamaica has a debt-to-GDP ratio of nearly 140 percent and its public interest burden is one of the very highest in the world, at over 8 percent of GDP last year.