Barbados has announced its intention to remove Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and become a republic.
- Buckingham Palace responded, saying the announcement was “not out of the blue”
- The announcement was made during the opening speech of a new parliamentary sitting
- The formal removal of the Queen as head of state is expected to occur before November 2021
The Caribbean nation gained independence from Britain in 1966 and has since maintained a formal link with the monarchy.
“The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind,” said Barbados Governor-General Sandra Mason, delivering a speech on behalf of the country’s Prime Minister, Mia Mottley.
“This is 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.”
That anniversary is in November next year.
Buckingham Palace said it was a matter for the Government and people of Barbados.
A source at Buckingham Palace told the BBC the idea “was not out of the blue”.
The speech delivered by Ms Mason also quoted Errol Barrow, Barbados’s first prime minister after gaining independence, who said the country should not “loiter on colonial premises”.
Barbados will not be the first former British colony in the Caribbean to become a republic. Guyana, Dominica and Trinidad and Tobago all did so in the 1970s.
All three remained within the Commonwealth.