Barbados to remove Queen as head of state next year and become a republic to ‘leave our colonial past behind’

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BARBADOS is to remove the Queen as its official head of state next year in a bid to leave its ‘colonial past behind’, making the country a republic.

The nation has plans to achieve full sovereignty as part of celebrations to mark its 55th independence anniversary in November next year.

The Queen meets the governor general of Barbados, Dame Sandra Mason in 2018.

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The Queen meets the governor general of Barbados, Dame Sandra Mason in 2018.

The Queen toured Barbados in 1977.

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The Queen toured Barbados in 1977.

The move was announced in a speech written by Prime minister Mia Mottley and read by the country’s governor general, Dame Sandra Mason.

The speech quoted a caution issued by Barbados’ first premier, Errol Barrow against “loitering on colonial premises”.

It 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."

Although the country became free of colonial rule in 1966, the Queen has remained its constitutional monarch.

Talks for the country to remove the Queen as head of state began decades ago with a constitutional review committee’s recommendation the country becomes a republic in 1998.

A majority of countries in the Caribbean have held on to formal links with the UK even after gaining independence.  

When Barbados becomes a republic, it would join Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica and Guyana as countries that have chosen to remove the Queen as its head of state.

Queen's ties to Barbados

The UK monarchy has maintained strong ties with Barbados, which dates back decades.

Since Barbados' independence on November 30, 1966, the Queen has been its official head of state. One of her many titles is Queen of Barbados. The Queen and her family represent Barbados in functions both home and abroad. She is the only member of the Royal family with any constitutional role. She has a representative in Barbados, the governor general, who performs the Queen's duties in the country.

In 2003, plans of breaking ties with the British monarchy was ramped up when Barbados replaced the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council, which is based in London with the Caribbean Court of Justice.

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur decided to call for a referendum on becoming a republic in 2005.

The vote, however, had been called off due to concerns raised by the Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

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Past administrations of Barbados' neighbour, Jamaica, have made promises of plans to also make the island a republic, but no concrete steps have been taken to begin the process.

Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness has said he would put the issue to citizens in a “grand referendum”.

If Jamaica becomes a republic, it would mean all the ‘Big Four’ in the Carribean Community (CARICOM), which includes Barbados, Trinidad and Tobado and Guyana (CARICOM) would have removed the British monarchy as its head of state.

The Queen and Prince Phillip on a tour in Barbados.

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The Queen and Prince Phillip on a tour in Barbados.

Although Barbados achieved independence from Britain, the Queen still remained its head of state.

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Although Barbados achieved independence from Britain, the Queen still remained its head of state.
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