RPT: PREVIEW - Barbados To Become World's Newest Republic After Severing Ties With British Monarchy

RPT: PREVIEW - Barbados to Become World's Newest Republic After Severing Ties With British Monarchy

LONDON (UrduPoint News / Sputnik - 30th November, 2021) Barbados will soon become the world's newest republic after it decided to ditch Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state in a move that has sparked controversy and might be followed on by other neighboring Caribbean islands still under the colonial and constitutional monarchy.

The ceremony, which will be attended by Prince Charles, the heir to the British Crown, has been scheduled for November 30, which marks the 55th anniversary of Barbados' independence from the United Kingdom, and for many Barbadians it will be a long-awaited dream come true.

"Barbados had reached the stage of maturity in its political evolution where what ought to have been part and parcel of the movement to independence was not for pragmatic reasons. Fifty-five years later this failure is being rectified," Cynthia Barrow-Giles, a professor of constitutional governance and politics at the University of the West Indies, told Sputnik.

According to the analyst, there is nothing "magical, suspicious, or unnatural" about the time for the island to become now a constitutional republic.

"The fact is that republicanism has been a recurring theme in political discourse in Barbados, though it has not been continuous," Barrow-Giles said, adding that for Barbadians becoming a republic has more than simple symbolic value.

She explained that it will mean that for the first time in its independent history Barbados will have an indigenously appointed Head of State, rather than a foreign head of state, represented by a Governor-General who, though nominated by the Prime Minister, must be appointed by the British monarch.

"That is the irony of being independent in the Caribbean, so that absurdity will be terminated," the political analyst stressed.

The leader of the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration, David Denny, a long-time campaigner for republicanism is also happy with the outcome of a struggle that lasted many years and gained momentum in 2020 with the Black Lives Matter movement.

Denny, however, said he has further aspirations as he wants his country of about 300,000 inhabitants to become a democratic people's republic rather than a parliamentary one.

"The 30th of November will have a ceremonial activity where we will remove the queen as head of the state of Barbados and this is a good thing, but from the 1st of December, our movement will be struggling and championing and protesting for Barbados to develop a democratic people's republic," he told Sputnik.

According to Denny, such move should bring the constitutional changes that are necessary for Barbadians to be able to vote for an elected president and have a higher level of participation in the decision-making process.

The campaigner resented, however, the invitation of Prince Charles to the ceremony as an "insult" to the people of Barbados, so his movements will be staging a protest in the capital of Bridgetown on Monday.

"We cannot have a representative from the Royal Family that benefited from the exploitation of the African community in the Americas and from a family that benefited from slavery," he said.

Denny also thinks that Barbados becoming a republic is going to influence other Caribbean nations such as Jamaica and Saint Lucia, which still have the British queen as their head of state, to follow on, but Barrow-Giles is not so sure about it because unlike Barbados, the constitutions of those islands do stipulate that a referendum must be held, and previous attempts had been defeated in countries like Grenada, and Antigua and Barbuda.

"No doubt this will resuscitate a new round of discussions on the issue but there is no automatic link with November 30th, 2021 and a wave of similar developments in the Caribbean," she said.

Barbados' first president will be Sandra Mason, who was elected by the parliament in October and will be sworn in to rule the country by the current prime minister, Mia Mottley.