Bridgetown. The Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Motley, of the Barbados Democratic Socialist Labor Party (BLP) announced that the island nation will become a republic in November.
Barbados is located northeast of Venezuela in the Caribbean and is geographically included in Central America. The former British colony has been independent from the United Kingdom since 1966, but is called the Commonwealth Kingdom, which means that the British Queen is also the head of the independent country.
Effective November 30, the 55th anniversary of independence, the current Governor-General, Sandra Mason, will become the purely honorary president of the country. The Governor-General already holds the de facto position of head of state in matters of protocol – the person holding the position officially represents the British Queen in the country.
The BLP had already introduced a law in 2000, according to which the island country must switch to a parliamentary republic system. But the new elections halted the process at that time. In the following BLP governments from 2003 to 2008, the issue was not the focus of the Labor Party’s work in Barbados.
The party has been in opposition since 2008. Then it won the Commons ballot in 2018 with an unprecedented result: all seats in Parliament went to the Social Democrats. They also have a majority in the House of Lords. Last year, Prime Minister Motley announced that she would abolish the monarchy in order to “put the colonial past behind us”.
Still other Caribbean island nations such as Grenada, Saint Lucia, Antigua and Barbuda are Commonwealth realms. Dominica, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago have been republics for decades. Dominica was never a Commonwealth country, but became a republic immediately with independence in 1978, and Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago followed suit in the 1970s. The status of the Commonwealth realm is independent of the Confederation of the Commonwealth of Nations, to which all former British colonies in the Caribbean still belong.
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