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Barbados’ announcement it is planning to remove the Queen as its Head of State will have a ripple effect on other members of CARICOM – the Caribbean Community, a royal expert warned. Among the 15 member states of this association, nine have the Queen as their head of state.
They include Jamaica, tipped to be “the next” to move towards republicanism by royal expert Charlie Proctor.
He wrote on Twitter: “Big news. Now Barbados has played their cards, other CARICOM countries will follow.
“Jamaica will be next. Both main parties favour a Republic.”
Many Jamaican leaders had in the past expressed their desire to see the country cut ties with the Crown.
Upon being elected in 1972, Prime Minister Michael Manley announced Jamaica would become a republic by 1981.
His Government explored a constitutional reform but Mr Manley’s party, the People National Party (PNP) lost against the more conservative Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) in 1980.
A new PNP-led Government in 2002 abolished the requirement for public servants to take an oath of allegiance to the monarch.
The Prime Ministers elected in 2007 and 2011, respectively JLP leader Bruce Golding and PNP leader Portia Simpson-Miller, both affirmed their commitment to start Jamaica’s transition to republicanism.
But neither of them brought about any constitutional changes by the end of their terms.
The current Jamaican Prime Minister, Andrew Holness, first elected in 2016, pledged to make the transition to a republic the priority of his Government upon being confirmed for another term earlier this month.
The reigning PNP has also promised to hold a referendum within the next 18 months.
A poll conducted between July 9 to 12 this year asked 1,200 voting-age Jamaicans whether the Queen should continue to be their country’s head of state or not.
Pollster Bill Johnson found 55 percent of the respondents said she should not continue, 30 percent said the Queen should continue and 15 percent didn’t know.
Barbados made its groundbreaking announcement yesterday.
Dame Sandra Mason, Governor-General of Barbados, read a speech written by the country’s Prime Minister Mia Mottley in which the Caribbean country expressed its desire to become a republic by its 55th anniversary of independence from the UK.
Dame Sandra said: “The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind.
“Barbadians want a Barbadian Head of State.
“This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving.
“Barbados will take the next logical step toward full sovereignty and become a Republic by the time we celebrate our 55th Anniversary of Independence.”
Barbados became fully independent in 1966 but retained the Queen as its constitutional monarch.
If it decided to go through with its intention to become a republic, Barbados would be the first country to remove the Queen as head of state since 1992, when Mauritius became a republic.
The Queen remains the monarch of 16 nations, including Australia, Canada and New Zealand.
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