Barbados has set a date for the removal of Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state, with the former British colony set to replace the monarch with a ceremonial president from independence day next year.
If all goes to the government’s plan, the Caribbean island will become a republic by 30 November 2016 – the 50th anniversary of it becoming a sovereign state.
The Prime minister, Freundel Stuart, has previously said it is “a little awkward in the year 2015 to still have to stand up and instead of pledging allegiance to Barbados to be pledging allegiance to ‘Her Majesty the Queen.’”
But Mr Stuart requires a two-thirds majority in Parliament to get the plan through – meaning it is not certain that Elizabeth will have been relieved of her duties as Queen of Barbados by independence day next year.
The timetable for Bermuda's transition to a republic was reported by the Caribbean News Service website.
The ruling Democratic Labour Party has the required majority in the upper house, or Senate, but not in the lower house. Opposition leader Mia Mottley has not yet said if she will through her weight behind the plans.
Barbados’ fellow former British colonies in the region, Dominica and Trinidad and Tobago, are both republics – Dominica on becoming independent in 1978 and Trinidad and Tobago in 1976. Jamaica’s prime minister, Portia Simpson Miller, has said she aspires to the end of monarchy but the Queen remains head of state.
The British arrived Barbados in 1627, according to the Buckingham Palace website. Such were its colonial trappings, it came to be known as ‘Little England’ and remained under British rule until 1961, when it was granted self-government. It became an independent sovereign state on 30 November 1966.
Barbados adopted the Caribbean Court of Justice as its final court of appeal in 2005, in place of the British Privy Council.