Barbados says it will remove the Queen as head of state next year and ‘full


Barbados says it will remove the Queen as head of state next year and ‘fully leave our colonial past behind’

  • PM Mia Mottley said Barbados would be a republic by November 2021
  • ‘Barbadians want a Barbadian Head of State,’ the LSE graduate said
  • Barbados has had a constitutional monarchy since its independence in 1966  

Barbados has announced its intention to remove the Queen as its head of state and become a republic by November, 2021.

A speech written by Prime Minister Mia Mottley quoted the Caribbean island nation’s first premier Errol Barrow’s warning against ‘loitering on colonial premises’.

Buckingham Palace has said Barbados’ intention to remove the Queen as head of state and become a republic is a ‘matter’ for the Caribbean nation.  

The Queen pictured with Governor-General of Barbados Dame Sandra Mason at Windsor Castle in 2018

The Queen inspects a guard of honour upon arrival in Barbados in 1977

The Queen inspects a guard of honour upon arrival in Barbados in 1977 

Prince Charles attends a wreath laying ceremony in Bridgetown in March 2019

Prince Charles attends a wreath laying ceremony in Bridgetown in March 2019 

Reading the speech, 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.’

Asked to comment on the Commonwealth country’s plans a palace spokesman said: ‘This is a matter for the government and people of Barbados.’

Downing Street said it was a ‘decision for Barbados and the Government there’ but that Britain would continue to ‘enjoy a partnership’ with the Caribbean island nation as members of the Commonwealth.

Queen Elizabeth ll smiles with a young girl in Barbados on November 1, 1977

Queen Elizabeth II on a walkabout during a visit to Bridgetown, Barbados, during her Silver Jubilee tour of the Caribbean

Left, Queen Elizabeth ll smiles with a young girl in Barbados on November 1, 1977. Right, Queen Elizabeth II on a walkabout during a visit to Bridgetown

A Number 10 spokesman said: ‘We obviously have a shared history and remain united with Barbados in terms of history, culture and language, and we will continue to have and enjoy a partnership with them as members of the Commonwealth.’

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.

The Queen and Prince Philip driving through Barbados waving to the crowds in February 1966

The Queen and Prince Philip driving through Barbados waving to the crowds in February 1966 

Jamaica has also flagged such a transition, with Prime Minister Andrew Holness saying it is a priority of his government, but 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.

Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur promoted the idea of a referendum on becoming a republic in 2005, however the vote was called off due to concerns raised by the Electoral and Boundaries Commission.

Barbados: The country’s colonial history 

The Sugar Revolution, the introduction of sugar cane from Dutch Brazil, in the 1640s was highly lucrative but came at great social cost

The Sugar Revolution, the introduction of sugar cane from Dutch Brazil, in the 1640s was highly lucrative but came at great social cost 

Barbados was one of the oldest English settlements in the West Indies, being surpassed only by Saint Kitts. 

The country’s historical ties date back to the 17th century and involve settlement, post-colonialism and modern bilateral relations. 

Since Barbados gained its independence in 1966, the nations have continued to share ties through the Commonwealth, with the Queen as Monarch. 

In 1627, 80 Englishmen aboard the William and John landed on the Caribbean island and founded Jamestown (close to today’s Holetown), in the name of King James I.

The early settlers struggled to develop a profitable export crop and faced difficulties in maintaining supplies from Europe.

However, the Sugar Revolution, the introduction of sugar cane from Dutch Brazil, in the 1640s was highly lucrative and over the next decade more than two thirds of English emigres to the Americas went to Barbados. 

But while this shift to sugar yielded huge profits, it came at a great social cost. Thousands of West African slaves were shipped across the Atlantic to work the plantations. 

The sale of sugar, or white gold as the colonists called it, reaped huge profits because it was a scarce commodity in European markets. 

Sugar continued as an integral part of the country’s economy into the 19th century, while workers suffered from low wages and minimal social services.  

Barbados became independent on November 30, 1966, during a time when the country’s economy was expanding and diversifying. 

In 2008, British exports to Barbados stood at £38.0 million, making it Britain’s fourth-largest export market in the region.

In recent years a growing number of British nationals have been relocating to Barbados to live, with polls showing that British nationals make up 75–85 per cent of the Barbados second home market.

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