Barbados to remove Queen as head of state as ‘it’s time to leave past behind’

The Queen is to be removed as head of state in Barbados.

The country has announced its intention to become a republic by November, 2021.

A speech written by Prime Minister Mia Mottley said the "time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind."

She quoted the Caribbean island nation's first premier Errol Barrow's warning against "loitering on colonial premises".

Reading the speech, Governor-General Dame Sandra Mason 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.

"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."

The Queen has for decades played an important symbolic and ceremonial role in the life of the island nation.

The Royal Family website states she "is not involved in the day-to-day business of Barbados’s Government, however, she is in regular contact with the Governor-General – her representative there – who keeps her updated with any significant news or developments.

"The Queen's Royal style and title in Barbados is Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, Queen of Barbados and of Her other Realms and territories Queen, Head of the Commonwealth.

"Her Majesty is The Queen of Barbados, completely separately from her role as Queen of the United Kingdom."

The country gained its independence from Britain in 1966, though the Queen remains its constitutional monarch.

She has made a number of visits, including at the end of the Silver Jubilee tour of 1977, Concorde made its first landing in Barbados, with The Queen experiencing her first supersonic flight.

In 2010, Prince Harry visited Barbados to launch the first Sentebale Polo Cup, which aims to raise awareness and funding for Sentebale's work with vulnerable children in Lesotho.

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Meanwhile, in 1998, a Barbados constitutional review commission recommended republican status, and in 2015 Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said "we have to move from a monarchical system to a republican form of government in the very near future".

Most Caribbean countries have kept formal links with the monarchy after achieving independence.

Barbados would join Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica and Guyana if it proceeds with its plan to become a republic.

Jamaica has also flagged such a transition, with Prime Minister Andrew Holness saying it is a priority of his government, but has yet to achieve it.

Barbados took another step towards independence from the UK in 2003 when it replaced the London-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice, located in Trinidad and Tobago's Port of Spain, as its final appeals court.

Buckingham Palace has not yet commented.

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