Written by By Tom Dooley, CNN
A number of Caribbean leaders have bid farewell to Queen Elizabeth II in the last few days and each is looking forward to leading their own nation one day. But a number of others have actively been lobbying to get rid of the British monarch as its head of state.
The good news? Barbados has become the next Caribbean island to announce that it intends to quit the Commonwealth, and look elsewhere to rule — well, virtually anywhere.
On Friday, Prime Minister Mia Mottley said her government has submitted an amendment to the constitution to allow the country to leave the Commonwealth if necessary, stating that the country would seek membership of the Organisation of American States (OAS) and UN.
On Thursday, Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Keith Rowley said in his country’s parliamentary debate that the establishment of a republic was one of his country’s most important goals, noting that the head of state had not been selected democratically.
Barbados politicians have said they are preparing a proposed bill which will replace the Queen as head of state with the head of a new Barbados political party. It would be put to the Barbados people in a referendum.
A map of Commonwealth nations, showing almost no discernible difference between the countries. Credit: Courtesy of Craig Bryan/Creative Commons via Wikimedia Commons
In a recent speech, former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart urged the abolition of the British monarchy and the creation of an all-Bajan leadership, remarking that the period of the Queen was almost over. The need for the post, Stuart said, was “arbitrary and oppressive” and that a new constitutional framework was needed “to ensure the right type of constitutional institutions.”
“The ultimate goal is the legislative empowerment of the people of Barbados, in response to calls for collective political empowerment and constitutional reform in our country and throughout the Caribbean. We need to get rid of the corporate governance, the legislative governance, the financial management, the fiscal management and the tradition of the seat of government in London,” Stuart told members of Parliament.
British monarchs have overseen the Commonwealth for almost the past 200 years. At home, there are more than 10,000 monarchs and regent positions (including royalty), according to the Crown Estate
Queen Elizabeth II made her first appearance as regent in 1926. Credit: AP Photo/Matt Dunham
Prince Charles will be next in line to the throne, but these arguments remain somewhat nebulous — whether it would be necessary to replace the current monarch in some way, given their son Charles will become king next, or whether perhaps one day the monarch would become ceremonial.
In short, what remains clear is that the government is incredibly restless, while Elizabeth II remains firmly rooted in Britain.