Barbados Prime Minister Launches Countdown to Freedom from the British Monarchy
Aug. 2, 2021 (EIRNS)—Last week, Barbados’s spirited Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley outlined how the nation will proceed from now until Nov. 30, when, on the 55th anniversary of its independence, Barbados will cast off the Queen of England as its head of state, establish itself as a republic, and swear in its own, Barbadian Head of State.
The decision to do so had been announced on Sept. 16, 2020, producing both enthusiastic support and the expected rumblings from Anglophile interests of “too hasty,” “not without a referendum,” and the like. Wishful thinkers hoped the Prime Minister’s relative quiet on the matter in recent months indicated the decision could be stalled.
In an address, “There Is a Journey That We Are On,” on July 28, Mottley put that to rest: “We are not yet where we want to be, but we need to stay focused on this journey.... I come before you today to promise a few things,” she said with solemnity: “That on the 30th of November of this year—our great nation which we love shall become a parliamentary republic.”
She reported the general form of government to be established and adopted, but focused on the political mobilization envisioned to make the transition successful. The government transfer will take place on Nov. 30th, and only after that will the drafting of a new Constitution begin, on Dec. 1st. Between now and then, she announced there will be an extensive debate, across all classes, races, sectors and interests, on the crucial question: “Who are we? What do we stand for? ... What matters to us and what are we prepared to fight for as a people?” A nation which cannot answer those questions, will not be able to secure its way on the journey to develop a constitution, she argued.
The debate is to culminate in the writing of a “Charter of Barbados,” a short statement not more than two to three pages in length, laying out to Barbadians and the world their intent as a nation.
Barbados has a population of 300,000, small in world terms but large for the Eastern Caribbean, and it has a strong independent intellectual identity going back many years. The casting off of British imperial rule on the basis of the principle of self-government by such a country, can prove contagious in the dying days of the British imperial order.