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Barbados set to become a republic, cut ties with Britain

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Intaglio
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Barbados set to become a republic, cut ties with Britain

Postby Intaglio » Mon Nov 29, 2021 9:43 am

LONDON — Almost 400 years after the first English ship arrived on its golden shores, the former British colony of Barbados will wake up Tuesday as a republic.

The tiny Caribbean nation will remove Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state in a ceremony that will begin late Monday, breaking its ties with the British royal family — and with it, one of the island’s last remaining imperial bonds to the United Kingdom.

It comes 55 years to the day since Barbados gained full independence but kept the monarch in the ceremonial role.

The event will see Sandra Mason, a Barbadian who has served as the island’s governor general — or queen’s representative — sworn in as the country’s first president. She was elected to the figurehead post by Parliament last month, but Prime Minister Mia Mottley will continue to run the country.

“It is a monumental step,” Kristina Hinds, a senior lecturer in political science at the University of the West Indies in eastern Barbados, said on a Zoom call from her home in Wanstead, north of the capital, Bridgetown. “I think it is part of the evolution of our independence, and it is certainly long overdue.”

Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, will be in attendance as Barbados celebrates ending its formal links with his 95-year-old mother. Elizabeth is queen of 15 other realms including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and Jamaica.

A spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said the decision was a matter for the people of Barbados.

The occasion will feature music and dancing. In a “final salute to the monarchy,” according to Charles’ office, the queen’s standard will be lowered and fireworks will mark Mason’s inauguration.

Charles is expected to give a speech saying much of the relationship between the two nations will remain the same, including “the myriad connections between the people of our countries.”

His presence may signal the royal family’s desire to maintain strong bonds with the island, which will remain in the Commonwealth — a voluntary association of 54 states that includes many former British colonies and which the queen has championed throughout her life.

Image: The Prince Of Wales Visits Barbados To Mark Its Transition To Republic
Prince Charles arrived in the country late Sunday ahead of its transition to a republic within the Commonwealth. Jeff J Mitchell / Getty Images
But to Hinds, Charles’ presence is symbolically “a bit odd.”

“It’s problematic for those among us who believe that the British monarchy, as important as it has been for Barbados historically in positive ways, has also caused serious harm to the country,” she said.

In the 17th century, Barbados was claimed by the British and turned into a lucrative colony using the labor of hundreds of thousands of people brought over as slaves from Africa.

It became a major hub for the production of sugar, an increasingly crucial commodity that helped enrich British slave owners.

“A result of the desire for the production of sugar, which was catering for a growing sweet tooth back in England — white consumer lifestyles built on the back of black exploitation and slave labor,” said Christopher Prior, associate professor in colonial and postcolonial history at U.K.’s University of Southampton.

The island’s present day population of about 287,000 is comprised mostly of the descendants of people brought over as slaves from Africa to work in the plantations.

'Not personal'
Despite this history, there remains a level of respect for the monarchy and Britain in general, especially among the island’s older population, Hinds said.

Many places in Barbados are named after the queen or her ancestors, and a lion’s share of the country’s tourists come from the U.K., she added. The island is often referred to as “little England.”

Barbados To Become Republic, Prepares To Remove Queen Elizabeth As Head Of State
The tiny island in the West Indies has been tied to London since an English ship claimed it for King James I in 1625.Joe Raedle / Getty Images
Still, several people in Barbados welcomed their country’s move to sever ties with its old imperial rulers.

“For Barbadians, this is not something personal against the queen, it is about our national pride and governance,” René Holder-McClean-Ramirez, 45, an LGBTQ community advocate and consultant, said on the phone from his home in Bridgetown.

“As we grow and develop as an independent nation, having a foreign head of state just is not necessary or practical,” he said.

For Ronnie Yearwood, an attorney from Bridgetown, the positive feeling of the move is combined with regret that the government pushed ahead without consulting the public on the type of republic they would want.

Barbados first pursued the idea of republicanism in the late 1970s and in 2008 proposed to hold a referendum on the issue, but the date was pushed back indefinitely.

The decision to remove the queen as head of state was announced in 2020 but with little consultation about the transition, Yearwood said.

“There is a lot of disappointment,” Yearwood, 42, said. “It could have been a beautiful moment for all Barbadians.”

NBC News reached out to both the prime minister’s office and Mason, but was not granted interviews.

'Global conversation'
Barbados’ decision to ditch the queen follows a wave of protests across the world inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States. A more forthright evaluation of Britain’s imperial past has helped drive an effort to bring down symbols of racism and colonialism from Cambridge to the Caribbean.

“It’s a local manifestation of a very global conversation that’s being had about the legacy of the British empire and its colonial exploitation,” Prior said.

“Barbados’ move is another element of our decolonizing moments.”

So could the change stirring on the beaches of Barbados mark the start of a wave of realms cutting ties with the royal family?

“When the queen eventually passes away, there is going to be an emergence of further conversations, particularly in places like Australia, about whether they want to have Charles as their head of state,” Prior said.

“I don’t want to suggest there’s any inevitability, but I think it’s extremely likely that the issue of republicanism is not going to be going away anytime soon.”

https://www.nbcnews.com/news/world/barb ... s-rcna6901

So, what does everybody think of this? My personal opinion is that this is overdue in some ways; Barbados is essentially just doing what the various British dominions have been doing for decades, which is gaining their full independence and becoming their own nations. Do you think Barbados will remain part of the Commonwealth?

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Postby The Reformed American Republic » Mon Nov 29, 2021 9:46 am

Barbados will probably leave the commonwealth, which is uneventful for most of us here as they have the right to chose what political group to be a part of, and it won't effect most of us here.
Last edited by The Reformed American Republic on Mon Nov 29, 2021 9:47 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Christoffeland » Mon Nov 29, 2021 9:48 am

I think they'll stay in the commonwealth. From my limited knowledge, The brits didn't do anything bad to them, at least recently. So i see no reason they'd leave. I might be wrong though.

EDIT: It does say that Barbados will stay in the Commonwealth in the article.
Last edited by Christoffeland on Mon Nov 29, 2021 9:55 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Dispertag » Mon Nov 29, 2021 9:49 am

Maybe, centuries ago, the colonial dominion may have had negative effects on Barbados and other colonies of the British Commonwealth. But I think nowadays the influence of a stable Monarchy which doesn’t intervene in countries affairs and politics would be better for the country than a republic that will most probably become corrupt within a couple of years. That’s my humble opinion
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Postby Kubra » Mon Nov 29, 2021 9:51 am

Dispertag wrote:Maybe, centuries ago, the colonial dominion may have had negative effects on Barbados and other colonies of the British Commonwealth. But I think nowadays the influence of a stable Monarchy which doesn’t intervene in countries affairs and politics would be better for the country than a republic that will most probably become corrupt within a couple of years. That’s my humble opinion
So the monarchy doesn't interfere in its affairs or politics
so...why would it now become more corrupt than previously?
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Postby Ifreann » Mon Nov 29, 2021 9:52 am

At least the Queen didn't have to live to see this.
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Postby Seangoli » Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:09 am

Dispertag wrote:Maybe, centuries ago, the colonial dominion may have had negative effects on Barbados and other colonies of the British Commonwealth. But I think nowadays the influence of a stable Monarchy which doesn’t intervene in countries affairs and politics would be better for the country than a republic that will most probably become corrupt within a couple of years. That’s my humble opinion


Barbados has been fully independent and autonomous from the Monarchic for decades. This is only officially adopting and branding what they already have been doing for some time now, and is pretty much only a ceremonial change.

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Postby Ifreann » Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:10 am

Seangoli wrote:
Dispertag wrote:Maybe, centuries ago, the colonial dominion may have had negative effects on Barbados and other colonies of the British Commonwealth. But I think nowadays the influence of a stable Monarchy which doesn’t intervene in countries affairs and politics would be better for the country than a republic that will most probably become corrupt within a couple of years. That’s my humble opinion


Barbados has been fully independent and autonomous from the Monarchic for decades. This is only officially adopting and branding what they already have been doing for some time now, and is pretty much only a ceremonial change.

But without the Queen's powerful ceremonies, corruption will become rampant!
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Postby Imperial Old Mexico » Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:10 am

Ifreann wrote:At least the Queen didn't have to live to see this.


She’s still alive, isn’t she?
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Postby Ifreann » Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:11 am

Imperial Old Mexico wrote:
Ifreann wrote:At least the Queen didn't have to live to see this.


She’s still alive, isn’t she?

That's what they want you to think.
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Postby Heloin » Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:11 am

Not sure why anyone cares to stay in the commonwealth when it does jack shit.
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Postby Heloin » Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:12 am

Ifreann wrote:
Imperial Old Mexico wrote:
She’s still alive, isn’t she?

That's what they want you to think.

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Postby Seangoli » Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:15 am

Ifreann wrote:
Seangoli wrote:
Barbados has been fully independent and autonomous from the Monarchic for decades. This is only officially adopting and branding what they already have been doing for some time now, and is pretty much only a ceremonial change.

But without the Queen's powerful ceremonies, corruption will become rampant!


Hell, I don't even think they have ceremonies. She's just the Head of State in name only. It's like owning a star - yeah, you have a piece of paper that says you do, but it doesn't matter for anything.

Also, the thread title is misleading. They aren't cutting ties with Britain, but rather just fully leaving the Commonwealth. There is a pretty significant difference, and Barbados will certainly maintain strong ties to Britain for various reasons.

People are basically making a much larger deal out of this than is necessary. It's neat and cool, but it's not some sort of huge or earth shattering event. They are basically just changing the letterhead.
Last edited by Seangoli on Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:17 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby Stellar Colonies » Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:16 am

Republicanism lays claim to another country.

Good for them...

...

For Ronnie Yearwood, an attorney from Bridgetown, the positive feeling of the move is combined with regret that the government pushed ahead without consulting the public on the type of republic they would want.

Barbados first pursued the idea of republicanism in the late 1970s and in 2008 proposed to hold a referendum on the issue, but the date was pushed back indefinitely.

The decision to remove the queen as head of state was announced in 2020 but with little consultation about the transition, Yearwood said.

...


...although I hope the government allows them to have some say in the reorganization.
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Postby Ethel mermania » Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:18 am

Heloin wrote:Not sure why anyone cares to stay in the commonwealth when it does jack shit.

It sounds cool.
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Postby Kubra » Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:19 am

Ifreann wrote:
Imperial Old Mexico wrote:
She’s still alive, isn’t she?

That's what they want you to think.
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Postby GENSOC » Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:28 am

Ifreann wrote:
Imperial Old Mexico wrote:
She’s still alive, isn’t she?

That's what they want you to think.

She's still alive, the real question is whether she went silicone or saline.
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Postby The Archregimancy » Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:32 am

Intaglio wrote:So, what does everybody think of this? My personal opinion is that this is overdue in some ways; Barbados is essentially just doing what the various British dominions have been doing for decades, which is gaining their full independence and becoming their own nations. Do you think Barbados will remain part of the Commonwealth?


There's so much wrong in the assumptions in this short summary.

Barbados has been a fully independent nation state since November 1966.

Barbados has shared a ceremonial head of state with 15 other nations, but this has no impact on its status as a fully independent sovereign state. It's no less independent than Canada, Australia, or New Zealand. The monarchy of Barbados that ends tonight is constitutionally separate from the monarchy of the United Kingdom (and the other Commonwealth Realms); it shares the person of the Queen but is constitutionally distinct.

Contrary to the title of the thread, Barbados is not cutting its ties with Britain. It's cutting its ties with a shared monarchy whose head resides in the United Kingdom, but it will remain a member of the Commonwealth. Nothing is really changing except for the identity of the head of state.

The final step in Barbados removing itself from any remaining functional jurisdiction of the British government actually happened in 2005, when Barbados replaced the residual functions of the Judicial Committee of the British Privy Council as a court of final appeal with the new Caribbean Court of Justice.

'Dominion' was a specific status within the British Empire, and wasn't a general term that applied to any British colonies. The dominions - whose status was recognised during the 1926 Imperial Conference - were originally Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland, South Africa, and the Irish Free State; India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Ghana subsequently briefly became dominions during their transition to independence. Dominions were explicitly recognised as 'autonomous communities within the British Empire, equal in status, in no way subordinate one to another in any aspect of their domestic or external affairs, though united by a common allegiance to the Crown and freely associated as members of the British Commonwealth of Nations'.




The Reformed American Republic wrote:Barbados will probably leave the commonwealth


The requirement that members of the Commonwealth also had to be monarchies was removed in 1949. There are 54 members of the Commonwealth; only 16 of those (15 from tonight) have the Queen as head of state. So this has no impact on Barbados's status as a member of the Commonwealth.


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Postby Luziyca » Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:35 am

I wish the Barbadian people the best of luck in becoming a republic, even if I'm disappointed the people didn't get a say on whether a) Barbados should become a republic and b) what type of republic does it want.

It'd be interesting to see the ramifications that this move has on the rest of the Caribbean Commonwealth realms: I do know Jamaica has a vigorous republican movement, and I think this may bring into motion a wave of republicanism among the Commonwealth realms in the Caribbean, and I do think that once the Queen dies (well, if she dies, but let's not get too ahead of ourselves), I can see this conversation popping up, particularly if Prince Charles is still alive.
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Postby Sannyamathland » Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:41 am

So does this mean Barbados will remove it's team from the West Indies Cricket Team and subsequently play as a separate nation?
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Postby -Astoria- » Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:43 am

Sannyamathland wrote:So does this mean Barbados will remove it's team from the West Indies Cricket Team and subsequently play as a separate nation?

*its, not "it's"

Probably not, though.
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Postby Sannyamathland » Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:44 am

-Astoria- wrote:
Sannyamathland wrote:So does this mean Barbados will remove it's team from the West Indies Cricket Team and subsequently play as a separate nation?

*its, not "it's"

Probably not, though.

Autocorrect messing up my post as usual. I am on my mobile, so bear with me.
Last edited by Sannyamathland on Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:44 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Deutschen Kaiserreichs » Mon Nov 29, 2021 10:45 am

Sannyamathland wrote:So does this mean Barbados will remove it's team from the West Indies Cricket Team and subsequently play as a separate nation?


To the best of my knowledge, the West Indies Cricket Team is not associated with the Commonwealth, so there is no reason (from my knowledge, I could be wrong) for them to play separately. I mean, they have Sint Maarten, don't they?
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