Jamaica's Prime Minister has confirmed to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge that the country is seeking to "fulfill [its] true ambitions" to become "independent".
The British royals' arrival on the Caribbean island on Tuesday was marked by protests seeking slave reparations from the monarchy amid calls for the country to drop Prince William's grandmother, Queen Elizabeth, as head of state and Prime Minister Andrew Holness expressed his desire that his home nation can "fulfill our true ambitions and destiny" in the near future.
Speaking to William and his wife Catherine on Wednesday, the Prime Minister said: "We're very, very happy to have you and we hope you've received a warm welcome of the people.
"Jamaica is a very free and liberal country and the people are very expressive —and I'm certain that you would have seen the spectrum of expressions yesterday.
"There are issues here, which as you know, are unresolved, but your presence gives us an opportunity for those issues to be placed in context, to be out front and centre and to be addressed as best we can.
"But Jamaica is, as you would see, is a country that is proud of its history and very proud of what we have achieved.
"And we're moving on and we intend to… fulfill our true ambitions and destiny to become an independent, developed and prosperous country."
The PM of Jamaica, @andrewholnessJM, welcomed Prince William & Kate Middleton on their 1st visit to the country by telling them Jamaica is “moving on” in “short order” & intends to “fulfil our true ambitions as an independent developed prosperous country.”pic.twitter.com/FplKBmieHV— Royal Suitor / R.S. Locke (@royal_suitor) March 23, 2022
After signing a visitors' book, William and Catherine also met with Andrew's wife, Juliet Holness, before presented with an official gift of Appleton Estate Ruby rum, created by the world's first female master blender, Dr. Joy Spence.
During his election campaign, Andrew - who took office in 2016 - vowed to turn Jamaica from a constitutional monarchy into a Republic and on taking office, pledged to replace the queen with "a non-executive president as head of state."
Four months ago, neighbouring Caribbean island Barbados broke ties with the queen and became a republic.