Caribbean Governor-General Sandra Mason said in a speech Tuesday that “the time has come to fully leave behind our colonial past.”
She said the country will become a republic as early as November next year, when it celebrates its 55th anniversary of independence from the British Empire.
The Queen is the head of state of the United Kingdom and 15 other countries that were previously under British rule – including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Jamaica and several other island nations in the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean.
But many Barbadians have long been agitated to remove her status – and thus the long-standing symbolic presence of imperialism over its rule ̵
“Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state. This is the ultimate declaration of trust in who we are and what we are capable of achieving,” Mason said in a speech written by the country’s Prime Minister Mia Mottley at the opening of the state. by Parliament on Tuesday.
“Therefore, Barbados will take the next logical step towards full sovereignty and become a republic as we celebrate our 55th anniversary of independence.”
A royal source told CNN that the decision belongs to the government and people of Barbados, adding that it was not “out of the blue” and had been “drawn and publicly talked about” many times.
Several countries dropped the queen as head of state in the years after gaining independence, with Mauritius as the last to do so in 1992.
But Barbados’ move to track a process previously proposed as a topic for a public referendum could signal a new wave of nations considering a push for full self-government, especially as the historic role of the British Empire comes under renewed control .
Mason quotes a warning from Barbados’ first prime minister, Errol Walton Barrow, against “relaxing in colonial premises.”
“This warning is as relevant today as it was in 1966,” she said. “After gaining independence over half a century ago, our country can have no doubt about its capacity for self-government.”
Barbados remains a member of the Commonwealth, a union of 54 countries that were mostly former British territories.
CNN’s Max Foster contributed to this report.