In depth: Barbados to drop Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state
The Caribbean island nation of Barbados has decided to remove Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and become a republic.
The prosperous nation
Barbados is one of the more populous and prosperous Caribbean islands. The country was earlier heavily dependent on the sugar exports, but with time its economy has diversified into tourism and finance. The country gained its independence from Britain in 1966 after more than 300 years of rule. However, even after independence, Queen Elizabeth remains its constitutional monarch.
The progressive country elected its first female prime minister Mia Mottley in 2018.
Out of colonial past
Though even after independence Barbados chose to retain a formal link with the British royal family like Canada and Australia, there were always voices against the move. Its first prime minister, Errol Barrow, was against the move so was the predecessor Mottley, Freundel Stuart. Even the British royal family and the UK government have reacted by saying that the decision was up to the people of Barbados. So while it will celebrate 55 years of independence, Barbados would also be a Republic next year.
The Caribbean nation is, however, expected to remain a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, the 54-nation club of mostly former British colonies which is led by the queen, and includes India.
In the Caribbean region, Barbados will now follow the lead of Guyana, who dropped the queen as head of state in 1970, Trinidad and Tobago in 1976 and Dominica in 1978. Mauritius went republic in 1992. Jamaica’s prime minister has also pledged to hold a referendum on the topic.
India too was ruled by the House of Windsor, as the Queen’s family is called, till 1947 but we became a republic with the acceptance of the Constitution in 1950. Pakistan, which also got independence at the same time, did not become a republic till 1956. The last person in the family styled as ‘Emperor’ of India was George VI, Queen Elizabeth II’s father, while for Pakistan, Elizabeth II officially served as the country’s ‘Queen’ for four years after her coronation in 1952.