Barbados to become a republic and renounce British informal rule

Photo: Toby Melville/Reuters

The island nation of Barbados will officially become a republic today. 

Prince Charles of England will represent the monarchy and Commonwealth at a ceremony that will officially abolish the monarchy and revoke Queen Elizabeth II as head of state. Governor-General Sandra Mason, currently the monarch’s representative, will be sworn in as the first president of the island nation. The shift to a republic completes an initiative started in September 2020 to renounce remaining Barbados’ colonial legacy. Barbados will remain a member of the loose association of former British colonies known as the Commonwealth. The last country to take this step was Mauritius in 1992. 

However, some citizens have felt that the process was rushed and expressed frustration with the lack of a public referendum on the issue. As the tourism-based economy suffered greatly due to pandemic-imposed travel restrictions, Mason’s administration must demonstrate Barbados’ ability to move forward, a goal of her term. Barbados’ shift to a republic foreshadows future changes in neighboring Commonwealth realms such as Jamaica, Antigua and Grenada, which have similarly floated the idea. In the long term, Caribbean nations will likely further establish political independence from Britain while struggling to ensure economic stability in the process. 

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