Shortly after Charles III took the throne, Prime Minister Gaston Browne of Antigua and Barbuda announced his plans to remove him as head of state, according to NPR. This comes after Barbados did the same with the late Queen Elizabeth II, replacing her with a president. Now, the rest of the Caribbean is seeking a true republic.
Antigua and Barbuda join other countries, including Jamaica and St. Lucia on a quest to completely separate from the Commonwealth and oversee their own affairs. Per Foreign Policy, the move is more symbolic for the countries who were previously colonized. Although Prince William called slavery “abhorrent” during a March 2022 trip to Jamaica, the royal family hasn’t taken accountability or submitted a formal apology for subjecting those countries to slavery.
Reports say the resurgence of the Black Lives Matter movement seemed to have a global influence, inspiring the islands to become independent from the monarchy.
More about the referendum from ITV News:
But the Prime Minister Gaston Browne has made no secret of his aspiration to replace the monarchy and become a republic. His Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party returned to power in 2014 with Browne now in the eighth year of his premiership.
The islands became independent in 1981, and he considers a republic to be the natural progression. He told ITV News: “This is a matter that has to be taken to a referendum for the people to decide.
“It does not represent any form of disrespect to the monarch. This is not an act of hostility, or any difference between Antigua and Barbuda and the monarchy. It is a final step to complete the circle of independence to become a truly sovereign nation.”
About six of the Caribbean countries under the Commonwealth realm have begun making moves toward removing the monarch as head of state. Belize had set aside funds for a constitutional commission when The Queen was on the throne, Grenada had called for a referendum to vote on becoming a republic and Jamaica created a committee for making constitutional change, per Foreign Policy.
The Queen’s death reminded the world of the ugly history of the monarchy and their colonization. Now, the countries that fell victim to their rule are seeking justice.