Barbados Is Set To Become A Republic This Month. Here’s What That Means

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in a few days, barbados Will usher in a new era. The former British colony and constitutional monarchy is set to become a parliamentary republic on 30 November, the 55th anniversary of its independence from Britain, and remove it Queen Elizabeth as its head of state. Last time a country removed It did so in 1992 when Mauritius had the Queen as head of state.

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Under the leadership of Prime Minister Mia Motley, the island will be sworn in as its first president (and its first female president at the time) with Sandra Mason, Who was it Elected by its parliament in October,

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Mason, who is serving as the Queen’s representative in Barbados in the role of Governor General, delivered a speech on behalf of the Motley Fool in September 2020, declaring that Barbados would “take the next logical step towards full sovereignty.” ”

“The time has come to completely leave behind our colonial past,” Mason said. “The Barbadians want the Barbadian head of state.”

Motley is not the first leader of Barbados to inspire the country to become a republic, although she is the first to succeed. Some politicians, professors and experts have now opposed the decision to become a republic, declaring it a political move. to divert attention from covid-19 And this Economic issues plaguing the country, which was facing financial problems even before the pandemic. But The Motley Fool remains unaffected by the criticism, and significant change is now only days away.

So what does all this mean for Barbados and Britain? What will change? And what do Barbadians make of all this?

to enquire, spoke to Verla de Peza, a lawyer, former senator and current head of the Democratic Labor Party in Barbados, and Anna Whitlock, Ph.D., Professor of the History of Monarchy at City, University of London and the principal investigator of the project Visible Taj, which looks at the political and cultural significance of Queen Elizabeth II in the Caribbean from 1952 to the present.

Pedestrians make their way through the city streets in Bridgetown, Barbados. On 30 November, the 55th anniversary of the country’s independence from Britain, Barbados will remove Queen Elizabeth as head of state and swear in a local Barbadian president as head of state. Doing so would make Barbados a republic.
Joe Radle via Getty Images

What power, if any, has the Queen recently held in Barbados?

Despite Barbados’s independence from Britain 55 years ago, Queen Elizabeth is still technically the country’s constitutional monarch and retains the title of Queen of Barbados.

as stated British Royal Family website, the Queen currently “speaks and acts as Queen of Barbados, and plays an important symbolic and ceremonial role in the life of the island nation,” while maintaining regular contact with her representative, the Governor General.

“When we think of the Queen in the Caribbean it is important to distinguish the Queen as the head of the Commonwealth, which is made up of many countries around the world, many of which are Caribbean countries,” Whitlock said. “But there is also the fact that she is the head of state in nine of the Caribbean countries, including Barbados. She is the head of state and therefore has the same status as she has in the United Kingdom. This is a largely formal figure.”

In those countries, the queen is represented by the governor general, Whitlock said, and in the case of Barbados, she is the mason. but with the change in republic on 30th November and as mentioned by Constitution (Amendment) Bill Passed earlier this year – any privileges or privileges of the Queen or the Crown will be transferred to the state (and depending on upcoming changes to the Barbados constitution, some privileges may be transferred to the president).

Any “rights, powers, privileges, duties or functions” relating to the Governor-General shall also be vested in the President of the Mason, who shall be the head of state. Motley Fool will continue to serve as prime minister and head of government.

Is Barbados becoming a republic a rejection of the Queen?

Whitlock and de Peiza both noted that Barbados becoming a republic is concerned with Barbados taking control of its future and eventually becoming the head of the Barbadian state, rather than either Queen Elizabeth or the monarchy being dismissed altogether.

“Everyone I talk to wants to say this is not a rejection of the Queen,” Whitlock said. “It’s about an opportunity for Barbados to establish itself as a fully independent nation. And so they see it as a way of expressing and assessing national identity.”

motley echoed those sentiments last month, adding that “we look forward to continuing the relationship with the British monarch” and adding that it is time for Barbados to “express full faith in ourselves as a people and to believe that this It is possible for the birth of this nation “to finally and completely sign.”

But de Peiza has said that in keeping with the international media, she sees that “the UK press is more interested in the story of the monarchy’s declining power and influence,” despite her insistence that the Queen is not currently in possession of one. plays a “meaningful and tangible role” in the affairs of Barbados.

Why is now the right time to move towards a republic?

“Barbados becoming a republic is not a new conversation,” de Peiza said. “I think over time we’ve reached a stage where the majority of Barbadians are either in favor of the republic or are very adamant about it. The biggest obstacle is not really having a discussion about whether we What kind of republics are you going to create, and knowing that there are many different types of republics.

Although the Barbadians have previously pushed for a republic, Whitlock said the timing is interesting because “the Queen’s long reign is coming to an end,” but it is not officially It’s over now.

“One would have assumed that waiting until the queen dies would make sense. Why now? I mean, I guess it’s unclear. That’s what we’re digging into the research” the professor said The Visible Crown Project, which is examining the importance of “the King (as a person) and the Crown (as an institution)” throughout history and today.

“In part, I think it is the ambitions of the prime minister and others in the government,” Whitlock said, as Motley Fool would be the first prime minister to actually achieve the goal of a republic after decades of negotiation and effort. .

Some have pointed to the refusal of the royal family amid the Black Lives Matter movement, its role in the slave trade and its post-colonial past, as well as to consider the deal outright. Racism claims coming from within one’s own family As a complete wrong move.

Whitlock also said that he had a conversation with a “well-established person” who brought it up. windrush scandal, which came to light in April 2018 when it was revealed that the UK government was wrong targeting From Commonwealth countries to Caribbean immigrant deportations, removal of health benefits and more. This person suggested to Whitlock that the Queen should have talked about it Scandal At the Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting in 2018.

Whitlock said, “The person I was talking to suggested that it was a lost opportunity, or even that a ball was dropped, perhaps making sense that he had taken the people there.” Not represented the way it should be.” The person thought it was “this kind of nostalgia” to make people “you know, maybe it’s not really working and maybe now is the time.”

But this is likely to be the result of a few factors.

“I think it is a mix of indifference among people and not particularly caring about the Queen and not having seen roles for a long time,” explained Whitlock, as well as “the prime minister and the government are opportunistic. And eager for Barbados to be one of the nine countries that seceded and established itself.”

People exercise on the beach in Bridgetown, Barbados.  Some Barbadians have expressed concern that the country's people are not involved in the current process of moving to the republic.
People exercise on the beach in Bridgetown, Barbados. Some Barbadians have expressed concern that the country’s people are not involved in the current process of moving to the republic.
Joe Radle via Getty Images

What do Barbadians think about the change in the republic?

Over the past year – and increasingly in the past few weeks – some Barbadians have expressed concern about the process and called on the people of Barbados to join the transition from motels. Some have even ridiculed the notion of calling the process a “transition”, as would Barbados. Start drafting the new constitution only after it is a republic.

De Peiza, who supports becoming a republic but not the current process, said the “serious shortcoming” is that there is no “people’s participation” on the issue – something she thinks is important.

“As I campaign and I increase the dialogue of the Republic, what I am hearing from our people is that they want greater participation in our democratic process, not just reshaping the scene,” she said. . “We are starting from the back end of things with the Republic. And it cannot be that we are passing on some important occasion without thinking. And so, what should feel like happiness…

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