Barbados will remove the Queen as its head of state and become a republic next year, it has announced, as its governor-general says: “The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind.”
The country, one of 16 remaining realms which has the Queen as its head, will seek a new head of state by November 2021, in a move which could see other Caribbean countries follow suit.
Buckingham Palace said the decision was a “matter for the government and people of Barbados”.
The decision to remove the Queen as head of state has been “mooted for quite some time”, a source said, and did not come as a surprise to Her Majesty or the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
The country intends to remain part of the Commonwealth, which has the Queen as its head, but will replace her portrait on the Barbadian dollar bill.
Experts said it was likely that other Caribbean nations would follow suit to become republics in due course, with Jamaica expected to declare itself next.
Delivering the “Throne Speech”, which marks the state opening of the Barbados parliament and was written by the Prime Minister Mia Mottley, Governor-General Dame Sandra Mason said: “Barbados’s first Prime Minister, The Rt Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, cautioned against loitering on colonial premises. That warning is as relevant today as it was in 1966.
“Having attained independence over half a century ago, our country can be in no doubt about its capacity for self-governance.
“The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind. Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state.