Barbados, a Caribbean microstate, will free itself from subjugation to the British Crown and become a republic by the end of November 2021.
The constitutional divorce was announced by Island Governor General Sandra Mason in a back-to-school speech at the local parliament.
“Having gained its independence more than half a century ago, our country can have no doubts about its capacity to manage itself,” said Mason, who was speaking Tuesday in the capital, Bridgetown.
“The time has come to say a real farewell to our colonial past. The Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state ”, continued the one who is the official representative of the Queen of England.
A sign of the UK’s deep imprint in Barbados, Sandra Mason was only reading the “Speech from the Throne” by Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley. Exactly as the Queen does in Westminster, by unveiling the government’s program, in a lavish, highly codified ceremony, anchored in a centuries-old tradition.
Elizabeth II will therefore lose her sovereignty over one of the last kingdoms of the Commonwealth, which are former British colonies that have become independent.
Asked in London on the subject, a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said the decision was “up to the authorities and the people of Barbados”.
This tourist pearl of the Lesser Antilles is particularly popular with Anglo-Saxon high society. Covering only 430 km2, it had 287,000 inhabitants in 2019 according to the World Bank.
Before the COVID-19 pandemic, the island of heavenly beaches and crystal-clear waters was visited by more than a million tourists every year.
The separation from the British Crown will mark “the supreme affirmation of the confidence in who we are and in what we are capable of”, assured the Governor-General of the island state.
“Barbados will take the next logical step towards full sovereignty and become a republic by the day we celebrate the 55th anniversary of our independence, November 30, 2021,” she detailed.
The easternmost island of the Caribbean, 300 km from Venezuela, Barbados is the birthplace of world superstar Rihanna. The singer, probably one of the only people on Earth to be better known than her country, has also been officially appointed ambassador of the island state, responsible for promoting tourism, education and investment.
A number of countries have since their independence chosen to withdraw the position of Head of State from the Queen of England, the latest being Mauritius, which in 1992 became a republic. Following the example of Ghana (1960), South Africa (1960) or The Gambia (1970).
In other countries like Australia, the issue was put to referendum and rejected.
In the end, Elizabeth II remains the Head of State, in addition to the United Kingdom, of the following 15 nations: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua- New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands and State of Tuvalu.