Barbados plans to remove Queen Elizabeth II as titular head of state and replace her with a ceremonial president from the Caribbean island, a former British territory once known as “Little England” for its colonial trappings.
Prime Minister Freundel Stuart (pictured) announced that the plan is to make Barbados a republic by November, 2016, when the island of roughly 300,000 people celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence. He said it makes no sense to keep the monarch as the head of state of an otherwise independent country.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said Monday that “it is a matter for the government and people of Barbados.” British Prime Minister David Cameron’s spokesman said he expected the approach in Barbados to be “consistent with self-determination.”
Upon taking power in early 2012, Jamaica Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller insisted her country must remove the monarch as head of state, in part because of slavery’s legacy. But nothing has changed since Simpson Miller made that statement.
Barbados needs a two-thirds majority in Parliament to authorize the constitutional change. Stuart’s government currently has that majority in the Senate, but not in the lower house. Opposition leader Mia Mottley did not immediately comment on Stuart’s plans.
But in a sign of changing times, Barbados adopted the Caribbean Court of Justice as its final court of appeal in 2005, dumping the London-based Privy Council that long served as the court of last resort for many “former colonies”.
Congratulations to Barbados. They now join Trinidad and Tobago and Dominica as having a President and not The Queen as Head of State. It is hoped that Jamaica with its constant chatter on this reform, somehow cease the talk and hopefully get something done and shape the future for the country and its people.