The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge have held an official meeting with Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness, who made clear his country's intention to break away from the British monarchy.
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The royal couple were welcomed to Jamaica House in Kingston by Mr Holness and his wife Juliet, and introduced to cabinet members including Marlene Malahoo Forte, Minister for Legal Affairs, Robert Morgan, Minister without Portfolio, Floyd Green, Minister without Portfolio, Office of the Prime Minister and Audrey Sewell, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister.
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After signing the visitors' book in the lobby, William and Kate were taken inside for a private meeting with Mr Holness, who told the couple: "We are very very happy to have you and I hope you will have seen the warm welcome of the people.
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"Jamaica is a very free and liberal country and the people are very expressive and I'm certain that you will have seen the spectrum of expression yesterday.
"There are issues here which are, as you would know, unresolved, but your presence gives an opportunity for these issues to be placed in context, put front and centre and to be addressed as best we can.
"But Jamaica is, as you can see, a country that is very proud of its history, very proud of what we have achieved and we are moving on and we intend to attain, in short order, our developing goals and to fulfil our true ambitions… as an independent, developed, prosperous country."
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The Duke and Duchess were also presented with an official gift of Appleton Estate Ruby rum, created by the first female master blender in the world Dr Joy Spence - a blend of hand selected rums aged between 35 and 45 years.
Dr Spence, who presented it to them, told them to expect notes of orange, vanilla and hints of coffee.
And Mr Holness warned: “You have to be very careful with this rum.”
“Treat it carefully!” replied William.
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“It’s very rare to get rums in that age range, normally we get 10 to 20, but when you get to 45, that’s very special,” said the prime minister.
Dr Spence agreed: “One of a kind, you will never see this again in the rum industry.”
“So this rum has a way of speaking on its own, if you drink it too fast or two much,” explained Mr Holness.
William replied: “Well, it will find a welcome home with us. It can speak to me all it wants, I will be very willing to listen!”
The royal was presented with a gift of rum
At 49, Mr Holness is the country’s youngest leader to date and vowed to turn Jamaica from a constitutional monarchy into a Republic during his election campaign.
He also served as prime minister from October 2011 to January 2012, having succeeded Bruce Golding, but lost to Portia Simpson-Miller in an early election in December 2011.
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He was elected to lead the country in 2016 and on taking office, said his government would introduce a bill to replace the Queen with “a non-executive president as head of state.”
In 2020, the Labour Party won a landslide in another general election, giving him another term as prime minister, but a timeline for a referendum, required by law to make the change, has not yet been given.
Amendments to the Constitution of Jamaica must be approved by a two-thirds majority in both the House of Representatives and the Senate, but certain sections, including any relating to the monarchy, can only be amended with a referendum.
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