NEWS

Barbados Goes Republic

In September 2020, the Barbados Labour Party government of Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced in their Throne Speech that Barbados would become a republic by November 2021.

“The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind,” the country’s Governor-General Dame Sandra Mason said earlier.

Buckingham Palace noted that the position taken was one for the people of Barbados to make.

In October this year, Dame Mason was elected as the country’s first President, and she will be sworn in at celebrations on November 30.

Until then, Barbados is one of 15 countries outside the UK, known as Commonwealth nations, which still recognize the British sovereign as head of state.

The other 14 are:

  • Antigua and Barbuda
  • Australia
  • The Bahamas
  • Belize
  • Canada
  • Grenada
  • Jamaica
  • New Zealand
  • Papua New Guinea
  • Saint Kitts and Nevis
  • Saint Lucia
  • Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
  • Solomon Islands
  • Tuvalu.

In 2012, former Jamaica’s Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller indicated that her country would follow the route of removing the Queen as its head of state.

However, the country is yet to follow that path beyond debate at the parliamentary level.

One official role that the Queen and one day Prince Charles will continue to have in relation to Barbados is as head of the Commonwealth.

Formed as countries formerly in the British Empire gained their independence, the Commonwealth is now a voluntary association of 54 independent countries of which Barbados will remain a member.

King George VI was the first head of the Commonwealth, and the Queen took over from him in 1952 but the position is not a hereditary one.

In 2018 Prince Charles was voted in as the next head of the Commonwealth by leaders during a meeting at Windsor Castle after the Queen said it was her “sincere wish” that he should succeed her

Readers Bureau, Contributor

Edited by Jesus Chan

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