Sat | Dec 2, 2023

Let us not become a republic by hate

Published:Tuesday | March 22, 2022 | 12:08 AM


We have been hearing voices calling for the removal of the monarchy from those who, having walked in the halls of political power, and reaped its benefits while leaving the people in economic want, failed to lead Jamaica in becoming a republic when they could have done so.

Then we have those who try to divide the nation of “out of many one” into segments of black, brown, white, yellow, and red. We see this in some cases when agents of the State abuse members of the public. The narrative is presented as if it is powerful brown people oppressing the voiceless black people. They also speak as if black Jamaicans don’t have any shared mixture with the other ethnic groups in order to pontificate not only divisions, but hate for others so that we can become a republic.

I am a black Jamaican. One of my maternal great-grandfather was a Ghanaian warrior who was born in 1797 and died at the age of 111 years old in 1908 in Hartham, Manchester, Jamaica. My ninth paternal grandfather, an Englishman named Lt Col Robert Duckenfield, of Dukinfield Hall, is described as “a man of great Puritan faith. He distinguished himself in battle for the British parliamentary cause. In 1651, he commanded the forces which secured the Isle of Man and in 1653 was appointed to Cromwell’s Little Parliament. He is buried at the Church of St Lawrence in Denton”. A statue of him now stands in the town square of Tameside, Metropolitan borough in the eastern part of the metropolitan county of Greater Manchester, northwestern England.

I have cousins who have served this nation as Speaker of the House, ministers of education, and prime minister; cousins who are noted footballers and rugby players; movie stars and musicians. Cousins who are rich and poor. I cannot hate, and my own heritage mirrors that of thousands of Jamaicans who live on this little rock.

Yes to becoming a republic! But not at the expense of dividing us by asking us to abandon our kaleidoscope of ethnicities that informs our black Jamaicaness.

As the late Martin Luther King Jr said, “Unless we learn to live together as brothers, we will die together as fools.”


Mandeville, Manchester