SCOTTISH republicans have expressed solidarity with calls in Jamaica for the United Kingdom to apologise for the monarchy’s historic role in the slave trade, and for Jamaica’s plans to abolish the monarchy and become a republic.

With the Earl and Countess of Strathearn’s recent tour of the Caribbean and visit to Kingston coinciding with the 60th anniversary of Jamaica’s independence, the preceding week saw an open letter by numerous prominent Jamaican figures arguing that they saw “no reason to celebrate” the 70th anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II.

"Her leadership, and that of her predecessors, have perpetuated the greatest human rights tragedy in the history of humankind," they wrote.

The letter continued: “During her 70 years on the throne, your grandmother has done nothing to redress and atone for the suffering of our ancestors that took place during her reign and/or during the entire period of British trafficking of Africans, enslavement, indentureship and colonialization.”

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Before meeting with the royals, Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness stated that the country was “moving on”, saying: "We intend to attain in short order our development goals and fulfill our true ambitions and destiny as an independent, developed, prosperous country."

It is reported that Jamaican officials are studying the process of reforming the country’s constitution and transitioning to a republic, which may require a referendum.

Speaking to The National, the Scottish cross-party campaign group Our Republic commented: "As a party to the exploitation and profiteering of the slave trade, we in Scotland cannot compare our experience to that of the people of Jamaica, who suffered under the very same system that built much of Scotland's modern prosperity.

“In the early 19th century, Scots owned a third of slaves in Jamaica, and that is a legacy we must confront ourselves. Jamaica's relationship with the British Empire and the monarchy - that still marks their rule over that empire as a point of pride - is necessarily different from our own.

“This week, we have seen demands for an apology from the monarchy by protesters and dozens of political leaders in Jamaica for their part in the slave trade ahead of the visit of William Mountbatten-Windsor. It is right that the monarchy, an institution that still continues to benefit from the wealth and power they gained from the horrors of the slavery, apologises for their part in that trade and the people of Jamaica have every right to demand that apology.

“For William to avoid it is to deny his family's direct profit from it - a denial made from palaces and golden thrones is completely untenable.”

Our Republic added: “Though our relationship to the legacy of the British Empire may be different, the nature of inherited, unaccountable and undemocratic power does not change, and nor does the right for a people to freely determine their own government and future. The people of Jamaica must be free to choose their own course and to choose who represents them, as should the people of Scotland. The only way to check this consent to rule is through democratic elections and an elected head of state.

“We wish the people of Jamaica the best of luck on their journey to implementing full democracy, free from Britain's monarchy. It is an example we should follow."