The Caribbean island nation of Barbados has announced that it is preparing to become a republic next year, renouncing Elizabeth II as official head of state.
Prime Minister Mija Motley said that according to her plans, Barbados, which gained independence from Great Britain in 1966, would become a republic next year.
“The time has come to leave our colonial heritage completely behind. The Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state,” said Motley in a speech to the opening session of the parliament by the Governor General of Barbados, Sandra Mason.
She recalled Barbados’ first prime minister, Erol Barov, warning “not to delay colonialism.”
The Prime Minister stressed that the transformation of Barbados into a republic will be “the last proof of confidence in who we are and what we can achieve”.
“Thus, Barbados will take the next logical step towards full sovereignty and, in celebration of the 55th anniversary of our independence, will become a republic,” Motley said.
Most British Commonwealth countries in the Caribbean maintained formal ties with the British monarchy after independence, but both Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana have already become republics.
Last week, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, Andrew Holness, also promised to hold a referendum on this issue.
The British government has apologized to the peoples of the Caribbean for the past of British colonialism and for maintaining slavery on the islands, but has rejected any talks on reparations.