The Caribbean island of Barbados has announced plans to become a republic next year, ending the role of Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II as nominal head of state.
Barbadian Prime Minister Mia Mottley said she wants the island nation, which gained independence from Britain in 1966, to become a republic by November next year.
“The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind. Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state,” Mottley said in a speech read at Tuesday’s opening of parliament by Sandra Mason, Barbados’ governor-general.
Mason quoted a warning by Errol Barrow, the island’s first prime minister, against “loitering on colonial premises.”
She said becoming a republic was “the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving.”
“Hence, Barbados will take the next logical step toward full sovereignty and become a republic by the time we celebrate our 55th anniversary of independence.”
Most Caribbean Community states kept formal links with the British monarchy after gaining independence, but Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana have already become republics.
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness promised last week to hold a referendum on the issue and other proposals for constitutional reform.
The British government has apologized to Caribbean nations for Britain’s history of colonialism and slavery in the islands, but it has rejected calls to discuss reparations for slavery.