September 30, 2020

Barbados to remove Queen as head of state next year

September 16, 2020

Barbados has announced its intention to remove the Queen as its head of state and become a republic next year.

The Caribbean island said it wants "full sovereignty" by the time it celebrates its 55th anniversary of independence from the UK in November 2021.

A speech written by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley quoted its first premier Errol Barrow who warned against "loitering on colonial premises".

Reading the speech, Barbados' governor-general Dame Sandra Mason said: "The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind.

"Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state.

"This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving.

"Hence, Barbados will take the next logical step toward full sovereignty and become a republic by the time we celebrate our 55th anniversary of independence."

In a short statement, Buckingham Palace said that Barbados's plan to remove the Queen as its head of state is a "matter for the government and people" of the country.

The country gained its independence from Britain in 1966, though the Queen remains its constitutional monarch.

In 1998, a Barbados constitutional review commission recommended republican status, and in 2015 Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said "we have to move from a monarchical system to a republican form of government in the very near future".

Most Caribbean countries have kept formal links with the monarchy after achieving independence.

Barbados would join Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica and Guyana if it proceeds with its plan to become a republic.

Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness has also said it is a priority of his government, but he has yet to achieve it.

Barbados took another step towards independence from the UK in 2003 when it replaced the London-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice, located in Trinidad and Tobago's Port of Spain, as its final appeals court.

The top image on this story has been updated - the original had been mislabelled and did not show the Queen in Barbados.

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