Cheers and jeers for Duke and Duchess of Cambridge
The Duke and Duchess ofCambridge William and Kate baskin the enthusiastic greeting theyare receiving from residents ofTrench Town shortly after theirarrival in Jamaica on Tuesday fora three-day visit. BuckinghamPalace said the Trench Townvisit was a celebration of theseminal legacy of Bob Marley andother ground-breaking Jamaicanmusicians alongside some oftomorrow's stars.(Photo: Joseph Wellington)
Royals get warm welcome at Bob Marley's yard; protest staged in New Kingston

Sharply contrasting reactions emanated from Jamaicans in the capital city on Tuesday as the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge William and Catherine, arrived here for a three-day visit that has brought to the fore the extent to which the country is divided on the British Royal Family.

While some high-profile Jamaicans protested against the visit metres away from the British High Commission in New Kingston some declaring the royals persona non grata ordinary folk in Trench Town, St Andrew, greeted the couple with loud cheers and jubilation on their arrival for a celebration of the seminal legacy of Bob Marley and other ground-breaking Jamaican musicians alongside some of tomorrow's stars.

However, there were even greater cheers for Jamaican international football stars Raheem Sterling and Leon Bailey, who engaged the Kingston College football team in a friendly game prior to the arrival of William and Kate. When the royals arrived, The Prince joined the game and played on Sterling's team.

The prince, who showed that he possessed a good sense of the game, made clean passes to his teammates and had a couple of near misses at scoring a goal.

Trying to stay away from what he termed as politics, British Broadcasting Corporation royal correspondent Jonny Dymond told the Jamaica Observer that the reception that the royal couple received was phenomenal.

“I haven't seen energy like this anywhere they have gone before. The enthusiasm, cheering, shouting, the shrieking; it is incredible. I think they must be so lifted up by it, by the excitement and enthusiasm. I can't remember a time like this with William and Kate. It is amazing,” he said.

“Maybe that is true [that] the footballers received bigger cheers. The footballers are exciting, but you could see when William waved at them, when he went over to talk to them at the fence, the shrieking and the cheering, and especially the sounds of children. You could hear from the pitch that there were a lot of kids cheering. I don't know about the politics of it, but it's just a happy afternoon and you can see that,” Dymond told the Observer.

However, one Trench Town resident, who gave her name as Angel, did not share in the excitement.

She said she wasn't interested in seeing the royal couple because they do not put food on her table. She was more happy to see her Member of Parliament Mark Golding, who was present for the event.

“Mi never come fi see Prince William. Uncle Mark Golding is my prince. Every month him put food pon mi table, not Prince William. Mi nuh know him. That is why mi never sweep the road fi him. All dem offer mi work, mi turn it down,” Angel said.

Golding, who is the Opposition leader and president of the People's National Party, had said on Monday that he was looking forward to meeting the duke and duchess and was hopeful to receive a chance to express to them that, despite the heaviness of their burdens, they must seek to reconcile differences with the people of Jamaica. The burdens to which Golding referred relate particularly to Britain's role in the transatlantic slave trade and reparation that many Jamaicans are demanding from England for profiting from slavery for more than 300 years.

“...The best way to deal with, it in my view, is to acknowledge some of the things that need to be acknowledged. We don't have anything against any one personally right now, but history is there, and we have to reconcile with it and acknowledge it. I think that an apology is important and I think it is will help to create a path forward. As a country we are a part of that reparation movement and that is a big issue.”

Ignoring the politics, Sterling, who was born in Jamaica and now plays football for England and Premier League club Manchester City, explained that he had received a personal invitation to the Trench Town event from Buckingham Palace.

“It is an opportunity that doesn't come by very often, so it is very nice to be able to come back to Jamaica and meet them [William and Kate]. I met them with the England national team a few times briefly, but this is the first time meeting them in Jamaica and one that I've looked forward to,” said Sterling.

“It was really nice to get the invitation, and as you can see, the people here are really excited,” he added.

Also present for the event in Trench Town were Olympians Shelly-Ann Frazer-Pryce and Elaine Thompson-Herah, recording artiste Nesbeth, and GraceKennedy Group Chief Executive Officer Don Wehby.

At the earlier protest uptown, Queen's Counsel KD Knight recommended that the Royal Family take on the responsibility of funding tertiary education, health, and transportation.

“I am out here to show my solidarity with my fellow Jamaicans who have, over the years, suffered because of the treatment meted out to us. We are a great race. No other race could possibly suffer the kind of persecution that we suffered and reach where we are today without their help. Even after the abolition of slavery they continued to plunder our resources and to enrich their society,” the veteran attorney and former Cabinet minister said.

William and Kate's visit is in celebration of The Queen's 70th year on the British throne. The couple arrived in Jamaica after visiting Belize and will move on to The Bahamas in a week-long tour of Commonwealth countries where The Queen is still head of state.

Prince William controls the ball during a friendly game with Kingston College footballers and internationalfootball stars Raheem Sterling and Leon Bailey in Trench on Tuesday. (Photos: Joseph Wellington)
Some of the Jamaicans protesting the visit of Royal couple Prince William and Catherine near theBritish High Commission in New Kingston on Tuesday. (Photo: Jason Tulloch)
The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge William and Catherine areobviously having fun sitting in the Jamaica Bobsled team's sleighin Trench Town on Tuesday as members of the team engage them.The royal couple visited Trench Town in celebration of the seminallegacy of Bob Marley and other ground-breaking Jamaican musiciansalongside some of tomorrow's stars. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)
Opposition Leader Mark Golding is pleased to be flanked byOlympians Elaine Thompson-Herah (left) and Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce during Tuesday's visit of Royal couple the Duke and Duchessof Cambridge William and Catherine to Trench Town in his StAndrew Southern constituency. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)
Excited children in Trench Town greet international football starRaheem Sterling on Tuesday. (Photo: Joseph Wellington)
Andrea Rattray (left) and Nichole Pitter Patterson display Jamaicanflags as they participate in a protest against the visit of the dukeand duchess of Cambridge near the British High Commission inNew Kingston on Tuesday. (Photo: Jason Tulloch)
Stacy Ann Chin and her Daughter Zuri Chin hold placards duringTuesday's demonstration against the visit to Jamaica of PrinceWilliam and his wife Catherine. (Photo: Jason Tulloch)
BY JASON CROSS Observer staff reporter crossj@jamaicaobserver.com

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