Barbados Will Remove Queen Elizabeth as Head of State

Barbados will remove Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and replace her with a Barbadian instead, according to The Guardian. Barbados gained its independence from Britain in 1966, but has still had Queen Elizabeth as its constitutional monarch.

“The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind,” Barbados Governor General Sandra Mason said in a speech on behalf of the country’s Prime Minister Mia Mottley, according to NBC News. “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.”

Barbados aims to become a republic by November 2021. Buckingham Palace said the matter should be decided by the people of Barbados. The change would require a two-thirds majority in parliament. There are currently no plans to have a referendum, which is not required in the constitution but has been proposed in the past.

The Caribbean island has a population of under 300,000 people. Most are of African descent as a result of African slaves brought to the island to work on sugar plantations in the 1600s. Barbados would join Trinidad and Tobago as well as Dominica and Guyana if the island goes ahead with its plan. Other islands may follow suit in the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement.