Queen Elizabeth removed as Head of State of Barbados


Amy Latham, Editor

Prime Minister Mia Motley of Barbados announced last Wednesday that Barbados will be removing Queen Elizabeth as their head of state. While Barbados gained independence from Britain in 1966, they retained the Queen as their head of state. “The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind. Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state,” Prime Minister Motley wrote. As of 2020, Barbados is not the first state to make an announcement of the like, having had Dominica, Trinidad, Guyana, Tobago, and Mauritius make similar declarations in the past.

An association mostly composed of past colonies of the British Empire, Barbados will remain a constituent of the Commonwealth. As well as renouncing the Queen as their head of state, Motley has called for reparations paid by Britain and other former colonial powers for the slave trade that occurred between 1627 and 1807. “I do not know how we can go further unless there is a reckoning first and foremost that places an apology and an acknowledgment that wrong was done, and that successive centuries saw the destruction of wealth and the destruction of people,” Motley spoke at a conference of Caribbean nations in July. 

In light of the Black Lives Matter movement, other states in the area are expected to follow. “Barbados could be a tipping point,” Richard Drayton, a professor of imperial history at King’s College London said. “If Barbados is successful in taking this step, it would inspire other countries to do the same.”  

Photo credit: https://www.royal.uk/barbados