23 March 2022

William and Kate told of Jamaica’s ‘unresolved’ issues after welcome from PM

23 March 2022

The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to Jamaica has given the nation the opportunity address “unresolved” issues, Prime Minister Andrew Holness has told the couple.

William and Kate received an official welcome from the Caribbean nation’s premier and he described how Jamaica intended to fufil its destiny “as an independent, developed, prosperous country”.

The Cambridges arrived in Jamaica on Tuesday to a much-publicised demonstration urging the monarchy to pay reparations for slavery, and there have been calls from politicians for the country to drop the Queen as head of state and become a republic.

William receives a gift of a rare Appleton Estate ruby rum from Jamaica’s Prime Minister (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)

As he welcomed the couple before sitting down for talks, Mr Holness said: “There are issues here which are, as you would know, unresolved but your presence gives an opportunity for those issues to be placed in context, put front and centre and to be addressed in as best (a way) as we can.

“But Jamaica is, as you would see, a country that is very proud of our history, very proud of what we have achieved.

“And we’re moving on and we intend to attain in short order our development goals and fulfil our true ambitions and destiny as an independent, developed, prosperous country.”

The Independent has reported the Jamaica government has already begun the process to transition to a republic, with an official appointed to oversee the work.

The couple are touring Jamaica over three days (Jane Barlow/PA) (PA Wire)

The Prince of Wales witnessed Barbados break away from the British monarchy and become a republic last November, attending the swearing in of its first president Dame Sandra Mason.

During the formal welcome, William was presented with an official gift – a bottle of Appleton Estate Ruby rum, a blend of hand-selected rums aged between 35 and 45 years.

Kate wore a chic white Alexander McQueen suit for the meeting and a Ridley blouse and was joined by the prime minister’s wife Juliet Holness.

During a hospital visit William revealed he and Kate have been triple-jabbed against Covid as he praised Jamaican medics as “total heroes” for their efforts during the pandemic.

As the couple toured Spanish Town Hospital, celebrating its 70th anniversary this year, they met patients receiving their vaccinations, and William told them: “I’ve had my three. Catherine has had her three.”

William and Kate at Spanish Town Hospital (Chris Jackson/PA) (PA Wire)

The couple spent time in the outpatient clinic and A&E department before moving on to the maternity and neonatal units and were shown on to a ward where the most critical premature babies are treated, and peered through a glass window at two tiny infants in incubators.

In pride of place in the ward was a “wall of triumph” featuring pictures of all the premature babies the staff have saved, including one who weighed just one pound at birth and is now a healthy three-year-old.

Pointing at the pictures, which appeared alongside the words “Tiny Heroes”, Kate said: “See how tiny the nappies are.”

Taking off his mask to address the medics, William said: “We know from previous experience of seeing hospitals how difficult it has been in the past two years particularly, and you guys have been a wall of strength and support for everyone.

“So please look after yourselves, talk about mental health, talk about the stresses and the pressures because life doesn’t get any easier. Every day you’re doing the same thing, saving lives and being total heroes. So please look after yourselves.”

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