Governor-general of Jamaica suspends personal use of 200-year-old insignia due to racism

Nii Ntreh Jun 29, 2020 at 03:00pm

June 29, 2020 at 03:00 pm | News

Nii Ntreh

Nii Ntreh | Staff Writer

June 29, 2020 at 03:00 pm | News

The insignia bears a portrait of a white St. Michael stamping on the head of a black Satan. Photo Credit: Government of Jamaica

The governor-general of Jamaica will in the meantime, no longer wear the personal insignia of the Order of St. Michael and St. George that sees a white angel stamping his foot on the head of the devil, depicted as black.

On Friday, Governor-General Patrick Allen said the time had come for hitherto approved practices and symbols to be relooked. Allen spoke of concerns raised by “citizens over the image on the medal, and the growing global rejection of the use of objects that normalize the continued degradation of people of color.”

The image of the insignia that was posted by the governor-general’s website is that of a dark-skinned Satan symbolically being crashed by a white angel. That image is at least, 200 years old having been formed by the British order of chivalry founded by King George IV in 1818.

Governor-General Allen has so far requested a revision of the image, asking that it be “changed to reflect an inclusive image of the shared humanity of all peoples.”

The global repercussions of the Black Lives Matter protests which broke out in the wake of the killing of George Floyd in Minnesota have been unexpected.

In the U.S., statues of Confederate leaders and the explorer Christopher Columbus have been torn down, with similar incidents taking place in the UK and Belgium where controversial monuments are being toppled.

Several Caribbean nations have also joined calls to remove statues of colonial-era figures from public spaces. In Barbados, citizens are demanding the toppling of the statue of British naval commander and slavery sympathizer Horatio Nelson while those in the Bahamas and Trinidad and Tobago want that of Italian explorer Columbus removed.

Online petitions that have been launched on Change.org by Caribbean nationals in the three countries are gaining steam as they have received thousands of signatures in just a few days.

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