October 21, 2020

Is Barbados about to ditch the Queen?


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26ECFA8300000578-3007882-image-a-41_1427125637820 Prime minister says Caribbean island is ready to ‘complete the process of decolonisation’

By Jennifer Newton for MAILONLINE

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart set out plans for island to become republic

This would mean that the Queen would be replaced as head of state

Removal could coincide with 50th anniversary of nation’s independence

Mr Stuart is said to find it awkward to stand up and pledge allegiance to the Queen

Barbados could be set to replace the Queen as head of state after the Caribbean island’s prime minister set out his plans for it to become a republic.

Freundel Stuart told a branch meeting of his party, the Democratic Labour Party (DLP), last night that the shift would happen in the near future.

George Pilgrim, general secretary of the party, also confirmed the development and said the removal of the Queen as head of state was expected to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the island’s independence next year.

Barbados Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has announced plans for the Caribbean island nation to replace the Queen as head of state

A draft bill would have to be put to before the country’s parliament, but Mr Pilgrim said: ‘We don’t expect any opposition coming from the opposition party.’

‘This will move the country through to the next major step in the process of nationhood.

‘The prime minister said he found it awkward to have to stand up to pledge allegiance to Her Majesty the Queen.’

is replaced as head of state, the island nation will retain links with the British Crown through its membership of the Commonwealth.

However, Downing Street has said it was not aware of the decision, which was announced by Mr Stuart last night.

A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron said: ‘I expect the approach will be consistent with self determination, decisions around this being a matter for the people involved.

Meanwhile a spokesman for Buckingham Palace told Mailonline it was a matter for the government and the people of Barbados

The Queen last visited Barbados 26 years ago in 1989 for the 350th anniversary of the Barbados parliament. Prince Harry took a three-day trip there in 2010 when he played in a polo match for his charity Sentebale.

The Earl and Countess of Wessex were the last British royals to visit the nation, in February and March last year.

The eastern Caribbean nation became independent from Britain in 1966 but kept the Queen as its official head of state.

The Queen is represented on the island by the largely ceremonial role of the governor general.

Plans to make Barbados a republic have been on the horizon for a number of years. In 2005, the then prime minister Owen Arthur outlined his proposals for dropping the Queen in favour of a locally elected president, but the process was not completed.

The same year, Barbados made the Caribbean Court of Justice its final court of appeal, rather than the London-based Privy Council, which has long served as the highest court of appeal for many ex-British colonies.

In 2012, Jamaican prime minister Portia Simpson Miller also pledged to replace the Queen as head of state.

Barbados was colonised by James I in 1625 after the first English ship under the command of Captain John Powell docked there.

Wealthy English men were then allocated land in Barbados with many of the trees cut down to make way for cotton, sugar and tobacco plantations.

The island then went on to dominate the sugar industry and became the final destination for slaves, who were rounded up from West Africa.

After slavery was abolished in 1834, many people were drawn to the country in due to its warm climate and slow pace of life.

The island gained internal autonomy from Britain in 1961 and full independence in 1966, but remains a member of the Commonwealth.

The Queen is sovereign of 15 Commonwealth realms, in addition to the UK, including the Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Jamaica, Canada, Australia and New Zealand

Celebrities such as Simon Cowell, Lauren Silverman, and Wayne and Colleen Rooney, are frequent visitors to Barbados

Today the island is a hugely popular tourist destination attracting around half-a-million visitors each year.

It is also the destination of choice for celebrities such as Simon Cowell who holidays every year at the island’s exclusive Sandy Lane resort.

Other celebrities spotted in Barbados include Rihanna, who is originally from the island as well as David and Victoria Beckham and Wayne and Colleen Rooney.


Freundel Stuart

The Queen

The Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh on their last visit to Barbados in 1989, when they flew to the island on Concorde

A map showing the east Caribbean island of Barbados, which gained full independence in 1966 after being a British colony

Slaves in Barbados dance and march through the streets after slavery was abolished in 1834. Many slaves were taken to the Caribbean island in the 1700s to work on the land

Barbados formerly dominated the sugar industry. Pictured are sugar cane plantation field workers in 1910

After Barbados, pictured, abolished slavery, many people were drawn to the country due to its warm climate and slow pace of life

Simon Cowell and Lauren Silverman

Wayne and Colleen Rooney

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