The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge had to cancel the first engagement of their Caribbean tour after locals staged a protest.
On Saturday, Prince William and Kate Middleton arrived in Belize, formerly known as British Honduras, for a week-long Caribbean tour, Reuters reported. The royal couple was due to visit the Akte’ il Ha cocoa farm in an indigenous Mayan village on Sunday, but several dozen villagers launched a demonstration about colonialism and land disputes, the outlet said.
Representatives from Kensington Palace did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.—WRITE OFF DI MONARCHY 🇧🇿 (@kevinjohnchen) March 18, 2022
The Caribbean tour came as Commonwealth countries continued to criticize the royal family for its colonization.
Residents of Indian Creek were photographed Friday with placards reading: “Prince William is leaving our land,” “Not your land, not your decision” and “The theft of colonial legacies continues Prince & FFI.”—Ian 🌍 (@isexton) March 19, 2022
Indian Creek residents told Reuters they made a mistake because the royals’ helicopter had been approved to land on a local soccer field without prior consultation. The outlet reported that the village is embroiled in a land dispute with the Flora and Fauna International (FFI), a conservation organization that considers Prince William its patron. The FFI reportedly owns property near the village’s municipal land, leading to tensions over property rights.
Representatives from Flora and Fauna International did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.
Youth leader Dionisio Shol told The Times of London that the way organizers dealt with villagers about plans for the royal trip felt “very colonial in nature”.
“We, the villagers, believe that we have suffered from the legacy of colonialism, and we are still directly affected by it,” Shol told The Times.Prince William and Kate Middleton in Scotland in 2021. Samir Hussein/WireImage
The Belize government said a contingency plan would be activated and a new event venue announced, Reuters reported.
Prince William and Kate’s Caribbean tour comes to the throne after Queen Elizabeth II’s 70th anniversary. It will also take months after Barbados deposes the Queen as head of state to become an independent republic.
The couple will spend three days in Belize, then travel to Jamaica and later the Bahamas to complete the tour on March 26.
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