The Parliament of Barbados has sent a very clear sign over its intention to break all the Caribbean’s country links with the Crown on Wednesday, when it unanimously approved a constitutional reform. This reform works towards turning Barbados into a republic before the end of the year.
It establishes that a Barbadian should be the country’s head of state rather than a British monarch.
Moreover, this reform will see Barbadians swearing allegiance to their country and the continuity of its institutions rather than the Queen.
The new legal status of Barbados will come into force on November 30, a date already marking the anniversary of the nation’s independence from Britain.
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley says this reform ended the discussion over the country’s full independence.
The vote on the reform, she said, announced to the world “we have the confidence in ourselves to be fully responsible for who we are and what we do”.
Ms Mottley and opposition leader Reverend Joseph Atherley will now make a nomination for the president and set an election date.
Last month, the Barbadian Prime Minister had already announced her Government’s decision to nominate the current Governor-General as the first President of the country.
Ms Mottley told Bajans: “I am happy to report to the people of this nation today, that Her Excellency Dame Sandra Mason has consented to my Government nominating her, at the appropriate time, to be the first president of this nation.
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“We feel that this is the way we want to go and we want to thank her excellency for so graciously consenting in this manner.
“My people, we have come too far as a nation and what we are simply trying to do is to close the discussion on independence.”
Governor-General Dame Sandra Mason currently represents the Queen in Barbados.
In August, Ms Mottley also told her citizens the new republic would not spark major changes in the country’s name, flag or pledge.
She said: “There is no change to the flag.
“There is no change to the name of Independence Day; there is no change to the name of Barbados.
“Barbados is Barbados. We’re not the Commonwealth of Barbados; we’re not the Republic of Barbados; Barbados is Barbados.
“We are also not changing our pledge.”
Barbados gained its full independence from the UK 55 years ago, in 1966, but at the time it retained the Queen as its head of state.
In 2020, following years-long debates within Barbados over its links with the Crown, the country formally announced its intention to become a republic.
Buckingham Palace said at the time this decision was “a matter for the Government and people of Barbados”.
The Queen is currently the head of state of 16 countries including the UK.
In 15 of them, including Canada, Australia and New Zealand, she is represented by a Governor-General.
If Barbados follows through with its plans and becomes a republic on November 30, it would be the first country Her Majesty loses in almost three decades.
In 1992, the island nation of Mauritius became a republic.