The prime minister of the Bahamas has said he will hold a referendum to remove King Charles III as head of state and become a republic.
Phillip Davis said the decision on the country’s involvement with the British monarchy was a matter for the Bahamian public to decide upon.
Speaking to reporters after signing the book of condolence at the Senate on Tuesday, following the death of Queen Elizabeth, the PM confirmed that having a public vote was on the table, telling reporters “for me, it always is but again it is our people who will have to decide”.
“The only challenge with us moving to a republic is that I can’t, as much as I would wish to do it, I cannot do it without your consent,” he continued. “I will have to have a referendum and the Bahamian people will have to say to me, ‘yes’.”
The move comes after the royal jubilee tour of the Caribbean, led by royal couples Prince William, Princess Kate, Prince Edward and Sophie, Countess of Wessex, was met was protests and calls for slavery reparations in March. By its conclusion, six of the 15 countries that have the British monarch as head of state had expressed a desire to part ways with it.
The Bahamas National Reparations Committee (BNRC) echoed demands for reparatory justice from Britain in a scathing open letter about the “extravagant” eight-day excursion across Belize, Jamaica and The Bahamas.
“We recognise that the people of the Bahamas have been left holding the bag for much of the cost of this extravagant trip,” the collective wrote.
“Why are we footing the bill for the benefit of a regime whose rise to ‘greatness’ was fuelled by the extinction, enslavement, colonisation, and degradation of the people of this land? Why are we being made to pay again?
“Once William and Kate have passed over the newly paved roads, driven by the freshly painted walls, and waved to the schoolchildren who have been pulled out of their classes to stand and watch them go by, what will the Bahamian people be left with?”
The BNRC was founded in 2013 to establish the moral, ethical, and legal case for the payment of reparations by European countries.
It sits within the Caribbean Community (Caricom), the oldest surviving integration movement in the developing world and an intergovernmental organisation of 15 member states throughout the Caribbean.
The Bahamas gained its political independence from Britain in July 1973, and the debate around whether the country, along with other former colonies such as Jamaica, should ditch the monarchy has gathered pace since the death of the Queen last Thursday.
Speaking to The Independent on Friday, Jah Mickey Bowe, vice chair of the House of Rastafari in the Bahamas, said: “We, in the Bahamas, have seen very few examples of how the monarchy benefits our country in any aspect.
“We don’t see how the celebration of our oppressors helps us any; the royal family should apologise for slavery and bring reparations to all of the Commonwealth countries
“King Charles III will meet more of those demands on his desk in the near future.”
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