Barbados has decided to remove Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and become a republic.
The Caribbean island nation’s government said: “The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind.”
The Barbadian government aims to complete the process in time for the 55th anniversary of independence from Britain, in November 2021.
A speech written by PM Mia Mottley said Barbadians wanted a local head of state.
It read: “This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving.”
Meanwhile, Buckingham Palace said that it was a matter for the government and people of Barbados.
The statement was part of the Throne Speech, which outlines the Barbadian government’s policies and programs ahead of the new session of parliament.
While it is read out by the governor-general, it is written by the country’s prime minister.
The speech also quoted a warning from Errol Barrow, Barbados’s first prime minister after it gained independence, who said that the Caribbean country should not “loiter on colonial premises”.
Errol Barrow’s is not the only voice in Barbados that has been suggesting a move away from the monarchy. A constitutional review commission recommended republican status for Barbados in 1998.
Mia Mottley’s predecessor in officer, Freundel Stuart, also argued for a “move from a monarchical system to a republican form of government in the very near future”.
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Barbados would not be the first former British colony in the Caribbean to become a republic. Guyana took that step in 1970, less than four years after gaining independence from Britain. Trinidad and Tobago followed suit in 1976 and Dominica in 1978.
All three stayed within the Commonwealth, an association of former British colonies and current dependencies, along with some countries that have no historical ties to Britain.
Barbados key facts:
- Is one of the more populous and prosperous Caribbean islands;
- Gained its independence from Britain in 1966;
- Queen Elizabeth II remains its constitutional monarch;
- Once heavily dependent on the sugar exports, its economy has diversified into tourism and finance;
- Its prime minister is Mia Mottley, elected in 2018 and the first woman to hold the post.