The Barbadian parliament has announced plans to engage in constitutional change, ending the era of it existing as a constitutional monarchy and declaring a republic.
The Times reports both major parties in Bajan politics are in favour of the change, which would take place during the 50th anniversary of Barbados becoming an independent nation celebrations in 2016. Although it has cross-party support, the change is not likely to pass without controversy, as her Majesty remains popular among many of the island’s quarter of a million people.
The Queen’s recent Diamond jubilee was enthusiastically celebrated on the island with marches and pageants put on by the Barbados Regiment and the Barbados Boy Scouts. A spokesman for the government indicated the move had been initiated by the Prime Minister, who found it “awkward” to swear allegiance to the Queen when he took the post in 2015.
Executive director of the London-based Commonwealth Exchange think-tank Tim Hewish told Breitbart London: “The Queen’s wish is that such decisions are taken on the express will of the people, so it will be interesting to see whether this goes to referendum, as it did in Australia in 1999, rather than being pushed through by parliament.
“Regardless of their decision on keeping the Queen as the head of state, I think Barbados are very happy with their arrangement with the Commonwealth”.
The Barbadian government have indicated they will retain their membership of the Commonwealth, the global club of 53 nations kept together by common bonds of language, kinship, and former membership of the British Empire.
Barbados is presently one of the most senior Kingdoms of the Queen, which presently includes the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Jamaica, Barbados, the Bahamas, Grenada, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Antigua and Barbuda, and Saint Kitts and Nevis. In addition to those independent constitutional monarchies, the Queen also rules over a number of British Overseas Territories, including Bermuda, Gibraltar, and the Falkland Islands.
Since Barbados gained independence from Britain in 1966, it has enjoyed the facility of using the Queen as a largely ceremonial head of state for free, as the cost of supporting the monarchy is solely born by the United Kingdom.