Queen heartbreak as Barbados steams ahead with republican plans – new head of state primed

Queen will ‘quietly accede to choice of Barbados’ says expert

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Last year, the Caribbean country’s government expressed its desire to become a republic by its 55th anniversary of independence from the UK, falling on November 30, 2021. And it appears to be preparing the ground to gain independence from the Queen ahead of the fast-approaching deadline.

Barbados’ Governor-General Dame Sandra Mason, who represents Her Majesty in the country, has been nominated to be the first president of Bajans when the Caribbean island moves to become a republic.

The nomination was revealed by Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley during an address to the country last weekend.

In her speech, Ms Mottley explained the Government wanted to appoint a Bajan, such as Dame Sandra, as the country’s next head of state.

The nomination of the current Governor-General will need to be subjected to the vote of the country’s House of Assembly and the Senate to be confirmed.

Ms Mottley told Bajans: “I am happy to report to the people of this nation today, that Her Excellency Dame Sandra Mason has consented to my government nominating her, at the appropriate time, to be the first president of this nation.

“We feel that this is the way we want to go and we want to thank her excellency for so graciously consenting in this manner.

“My people, we have come too far as a nation and what we are simply trying to do is to close the discussion on independence.”

Mentioning the first Prime Minister of Barbados, Errol Barrow, Ms Mottley continued: “We are not trying to take away Barrow’s legacy, as some people fear. Far from that.

“We are trying to complete his legacy. We are trying to finish what he would have wanted to finish, if circumstances allowed him in 1966.

“I have every confidence that the man I knew would have wanted to be able to have a Bajan head of state, but we understood then that we were moving a nation from a deep colonial past into an independent future.”

In her speech, Ms Mottley also stated ditching the Crown will not force the nation to make any changes in its name, flag or pledge.

She said: “There is no change to the flag.

“There is no change to the name of Independence Day; there is no change to the name of Barbados.

“Barbados is Barbados. We’re not the Commonwealth of Barbados; we’re not the Republic of Barbados; Barbados is Barbados.

“We are also not changing our pledge.”

The Prime Minister also spoke of the possibility of modernising Barbados’ constitution, once the island settles into its new status of republic.

She said: “We feel that if we are going to have a new constitution, eventually, that is going to reflect who we are in the third decade of the 21st century, rather than who we are in the middle of the 20th century, that that should be first and foremost guided by the kind of person that we want to be and the kind of people.

“Not legal language; not justiciable language, but a charter, a set of pledges and promises as Bajans to each other, no more than two or three pages …”

Barbados became fully independent from the UK in 1966 but at the time it retained the Queen as its constitutional monarch.

If the Caribbean country goes through with its plans to become a republic, Barbados would be the first nation to remove the Queen as head of state in almost three decades.

In 1992, the island nation of Mauritius became a republic.

In September last year, when Barbados’ intention to become a republic was formally announced, Buckingham Palace said this decision was “a matter for the Government and people of Barbados”.

The Queen is the head of state of a total of 16 nations, including Australia, Canada, Jamaica and New Zealand.

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