Barbados announced plans on Tuesday to remove Queen Elizabeth II as head of state by November 2021 and move to a republic.
The Caribbean island nation, which gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1966, said it would now “take the next logical step towards full sovereignty and become a republic as we celebrate our 55th anniversary of independence.”
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“The time has come to leave our colonial past behind,” Governor-General Sandra Mason told parliament on Tuesday, reading a speech by Prime Minister Mia Motley. “Barbados want a head of state of Barbados. This is the best declaration of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving. ”
Barbados gained independence from its colonial ruler decades ago, but remained linked to the monarchy, with Queen Elizabeth II as its legal and practical but non-political ruler, according to Britain’s The Independent. Following the creation of its own head of state the following year, the nation, like many other former territories in the British Empire, is expected to become a republic within the British Commonwealth.
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Buckingham Palace said the issue was a matter for the people of Barbados, Reuters reported.
“Barbados and the United Kingdom are united in our common history, culture, language and much more. We have a lasting partnership and we will continue to work with them, together with all our valuable Caribbean partners, “said a spokesman for the British Foreign Office.
Barbados was first captured by England in 1625 and became scandalous as a stop in the transatlantic slave trade. The colonists would send workers to work in the prosperous sugar cane industry.
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The country will join the former Caribbean colonies of Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica and Guyana, all of which gained independence and became republics in the 1960s and 1970s, but remained within the Community.
A voluntary political association of 54 member states, almost all former territories of the British Empire, is headed by Queen Elizabeth II.