Barbados plans to dump Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and go it alone as a republic, its government has announced.
“The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind,” the Caribbean island’s governor general, Sandra Mason, said while delivering a speech on behalf of the country’s prime minister, Mia Mottley.
“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,” Mason told the nation’s parliament Tuesday.
“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,” Mason said, referring to November next year.
First seized by England in 1625 and the focus of the trans-Atlantic slave trade, Barbados maintained a formal link with the British monarchy even after gaining its independence in 1966.
Buckingham Palace insisted Wednesday that it was “a matter for the government and people of Barbados.”
The move will follow the lead of Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica and Guyana, which all also became republics. Like those nations, it is expected to remain part of the Commonwealth.
The vast majority of the nation’s population of under 300,000 is of African descent, although many towns share names with those in the UK, and beloved British sports like cricket are also popular.
“Barbados and the UK are united in our shared history, culture, language and much more,” a spokeswoman for the UK’s Foreign Office said.
“We have an enduring partnership and will continue to work with them along with all our valued Caribbean partners.”
With Post wires