Barbados will remove the Queen as its Head of State next year, the country’s prime minister has announced.
The Caribbean island plans to become a republic next November, and wants to “leave [its] colonial past behind.”
It gained its independence from Britain in 1966, but kept the Queen as its Head of State.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced the news in a written speech overnight, quoting the Caribbean island nation’s first premier Errol Barrow’s warning against “loitering on colonial premises”.
Reading the speech, Governor-General Dame Sandra Mason said: “The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind. 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.
“Hence, Barbados will take the next logical step toward full sovereignty and become a Republic by the time we celebrate our 55th Anniversary of Independence.”
The move has been on the cards for more than 20 years, and in 1998 a Barbados constitutional review commission recommended republican status.
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In 2015, the then Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said “we have to move from a monarchical system to a republican form of government in the very near future”.
Most Caribbean countries have kept formal links with the monarchy after achieving independence.
Barbados would join Trinidad and Tobago,Dominica and Guyana if it proceeds with its plan to become a republic.
Jamaica has also flagged such a transition, with Prime Minister Andrew Holness saying it is a priority of his government, but has yet to achieve it.
Barbados took another step towards independence from the UK in 2003 when it replaced the London-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice, located in Trinidad and Tobago’s Port of Spain, as its final appeals court.