Sept. 16 (UPI) — Barbados Governor-general Sandra Mason said Wednesday her Caribbean island nation has decided to remove Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and declare itself a republic.
Barbados, a tourist destination in the eastern Caribbean 700 miles off the Venezuela coast, won independence from Britain in 1966 but has remained a British commonwealth realm.
Mason said in an address in Barbados’ Senate Chamber in Bridgetown Wednesday that it’s time to shed its “colonial past.”
“Having attained independence over half a century ago, our country can be in no doubt about its capacity for self-governance,” she said.
“Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state. This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving.”
Two-thirds of Barbados Parliament must approve the change to a republic.
Mason said it’s the government’s aim to make the transition by November 2021, in time for the 55th anniversary of Barbados’ independence.
This is not the first time the island has mulled leaving the British monarchy.
A commission found in 1979, however, that most citizens wanted to remain. The nation moved closer in 1996 when it adopted a parliamentary republic system. Former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart made a push again in 2015, vowing to move to a “republican form of government” in the near future.
While many Caribbean commonwealth nations have maintained official ties with the British monarchy after independence, Barbados is poised to join Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica and Guyana in ending the relationship.