Our country can have no doubt about its ability for self-government, said Barbados Governor General Sandra Mason, who was appointed by the Queen, said late Tuesday. The time has come to completely abandon our colonial past.
Attempt is Barbados’ second attempt in five years to replace the queen with a local leader, but some believe this time will be different, in part driven by a recent push in the Western Hemisphere to overthrow symbols of oppression.
Barbadian businessman Chester Sue told the Associated Press by phone that he supports the move even though he does not think it would make much difference.
Long is too late, he said. I do not agree with the current system … We still have to pay homage to the Queen of England. It seems to me that they are very nonsense.
English settlers first arrived in Barbados in the 1620s and turned it into a rich sugar colony dependent on the work of hundreds of thousands of African slaves. The island gained its independence from the United Kingdom in November 1966 and toppled the London-based Privacy Council in 2005 for the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice as its last appellate court, but it remains a community area.
Barbados would need a two-thirds majority in Parliament to make the constitutional changes required to remove the queen as head of state and implement a ceremonial president. Prime Minister Mia Mottleys The Labor Party in Barbados controls both chambers in Parliament.
Buckingham Palace and Downing Street said the decision was in the hands of government officials in Barbados, with a Number 10 spokesman adding, “We obviously have a common history and remain united with Barbados in terms of history, culture and language.”
The Caribbean has only a handful of republics that have been former British colonies: Dominica, Guyana and Trinidad & Tobago. Jamaica has spoken of becoming a republic but made no move. Meanwhile, at least six former British colonies in the Caribbean continue to be non-self-governing territories, including Anguilla, Bermuda and the Cayman Islands.
Barbados first pursued the idea of republicanism in the late 1970s and in 2008 proposed holding a referendum on the issue, but the date was postponed indefinitely. Then in 2015, former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart announced that Barbados would seek to become a republic from the islands on the 50th anniversary of independence, a plan that did not materialize.
Sue, the Barbadian who favors republicanism, said he hopes given the recent protests against the statue of British Vice Admiral Horatio Nelson in the Bridgetown capital. Government officials have said they would remove the statue and relocate it to a location that has not yet been identified. But he worries that people are used to the political status quo.
I feel that many Barbados are happy under the colonial rubbish, he said. They have been that way for so long.
Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
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