In its effort to cut ties with its colonial past, Barbados said it wants to remove Queen Elizabeth as its head of state. Though it gained its independence in 1966, the island nation is still linked with Britain. Officials see severing ties with the monarchy and becoming a republic as a step in the right direction, according to Reuters.
“Barbados’ first prime minister, The Rt. Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, cautioned against loitering on colonial premises. That warning is as relevant today as it was in 1966. Having attained Independence over half a century ago, our country can be in no doubt about its capacity for self-governance. The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind,” Barbados Governor General Sandra Mason said during a speech on Sept. 15 at the Opening of Parliament and the Throne.
With an estimated population of nearly 300,000, Barbados is led by Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who has been honored by singer Rihanna in the past. Mason reportedly made the speech on her behalf.
“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,” Mason continued. “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.”
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November 2021 will mark the Caribbean country’s 55th year, but no definitive timeline of official implementation has been given. As indicated by Mason’s reference to Barrow, this is not the first time the idea of becoming a republic has been put forth. it has long been touted by a long line of Barbadian politicians.
Mason also addressed other topics during her speech including Barbados’ handling of the covid-19 coronavirus pandemic, the economy, safety, education, law enforcement, home ownership, social services, local and global business and youth engagement, among other issues.