Barbados announced plans on Tuesday to remove Queen Elizabeth II as head of state by November 2021 and transition to a republic.
The Caribbean island nation that gained independence from the United Kingdom in 1966 said it would now “take the next logical step towards full sovereignty and become a republic as we celebrate our 55th anniversary of independence.”
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“The time has come to fully leave behind our colonial past,” Governor-General Sandra Mason told parliament on Tuesday, reading a speech written by Prime Minister Mia Mottley. “Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state. This is the ultimate declaration of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving. ”
Barbados gained independence from its colonial ruler decades ago, but remained associated with the monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as its legal and practical, but non-political, ruler, according to Britain̵
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Buckingham Palace said the issue was a question for the people of Barbados, Reuters reported.
“Barbados and the United Kingdom are united in our common history, culture, language and more. We have a lasting partnership and will continue to work with them along with all of our valued Caribbean partners, ”said a spokeswoman for the British Foreign Office.
Barbados was first seized by England in 1625 and was notorious as a stop to the transatlantic slave trade. The colonists sent in workers to work in the prosperous sugar cane manufacturing industry.
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The country will join former Caribbean colonies of Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica and Guyana, all of which gained independence and became republics in the 1960s and 1970s, but remained within the Commonwealth.
A voluntary political association of 54 member states, almost all former territories of the British Empire, is headed by Queen Elizabeth II.