Barbados has announced that it will become a republic and remove Queen Elizabeth from the position of the head of state. The country intends to become completely free of colonial reins by November 2021, when it will celebrate the 55th independence day from Britain.
The Barbados government has said that time has come to completely leave the colonial past behind. Prime Minister Mia Mottley in her speech said that the country will have a Barbadian head of state. She declared this decision as the ultimate statement of confidence of who the people of the country are and what the country is capable of achieving.
The speech known as "Throne Speech" is mainly about announcing the government's policies and programs, before the new session of parliament begins. The speech read out by the governor-general is written by the prime minister. The powerful speech included a quote from the country's first prime minister, Errol Barrow who had said that the country should not loiter on colonial premises.
From Independent State to Republican State
Barbados is an island country situated in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies, in the Caribbean region of North America. The country was declared an independent state on Nov. 30, 1966, but agreed to be under the Commonwealth realm that considers Elizabeth II as its queen and head of the state.
The demand to be free from the Commonwealth realm was raised in 1998 when a constitutional review commission recommended republican status for Barbados. The demand was intensified in 2015 when the former prime minister, Freundel Stuart, said that country should move from a monarchical system to a republican form of government in the very near future. Reacting to the news, Buckingham Palace said that it was a matter for the government and people of Barbados, reported BBC.
There are 16 countries under the Commonwealth realm including Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadine, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, United Kingdom, that still officially consider Queen Elizabeth II the head of state.
Countries Likely to Follow Barbados' Suit
Barbados is not the only country talking about breaking away from the Commonwealth realm. But other Commonwealth countries including Jamaica have been considering the move for quite some time now. Here is a list of countries that might follow Barbados and announce to remove Queen Elizabeth from the position of head of state. Among the countries mentioned above, many had openly said that they will break away from the Commonwealth realm when Prince Charles succeeds Queen Elizabeth to the throne.
Among these countries, Jamaica has been aggressively demanding to become republic. Its successive Prime Ministers have long advocated the idea and have worked towards it. But the biggest challenge country faces is the Jamaican constitution, which is very difficult to amend. It needs two thirds majorities in the House of Representatives and the Senate and even the monarchy must be involved in the process of changing the constitution.
New Zealand Next
The second country that is vehemently demanding complete freedom is New Zealand. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern had declared that she was in favor of cutting ties with the monarchy. In 2017, she had openly declared that she was a republican. "It's certainly not about my view of the monarchy but my view of New Zealand's place in the world and carving out our own future. So that is what drives my sentiment," she had said.
The country will have a vote next year to decide if they should to drop the union jack from the country's flag. This might eventually lead to people supporting the idea of becoming a republic than continuing with the Monarch as the head of their state.
Australia is one of the countries contemplating on becoming a republic state. A referendum in this regard was held in Australia in 1999 but the proposal was defeated by 45 percent to 55 percent. But the efforts to make the country a republic are on and co-founder of the Australian Republican Movement, Malcolm Turnbull, [served as the Australian PM between 2015 and 2018] has started a wave of republicans in the nation. But in 2016 he said that Australia will speak about this issue again after the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
The fourth country that could demand for a change is Canada. According to a poll held in 2014 majority people stated that they wanted to see a Canadian-born chosen by Canadians as head of state. However currently all countries are concentrating on dealing with coronavirus issues and the issue of republic state over monarchy has taken a back seat at least for now.