Barbados has announced plans to leave the British Commonwealth, lol

Captain Tom Moore knighthood ceremony, Windsor Castle, UK - 17 Jul 2020

Whenever any supporter of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex mentioned the way the Queen never defended them or did anything for them, we were told that the Queen “gave” them the Queen’s Commonwealth Trust, and she entrusted them with developing relationships across the British commonwealth. The Queen no longer has an “empire” in the Victorian sense, but she has the Commonwealth of former British colonies, which are mostly independent but still use the Queen as their “head of state.” The Queen cares very deeply about the Commonwealth – it was one of the reasons she was pro-Brexit, she thought Britain was better served with shoring up Commonwealth alliances rather than EU alliances. The Commonwealth is also a big concern in the succession – will the Commonwealth countries still want a British “head of state” when King Charles is on the throne? But in the meantime, the Queen is losing one of her Commonwealth countries! Barbados is like “check you later, Petty Bets.”

Barbados has announced its intention to remove the Queen as its head of state and become a republic next year. The Caribbean island said it wants “full sovereignty” by the time it celebrates its 55th anniversary of independence from the UK in November 2021.

A speech written by Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley quoted its first premier Errol Barrow who warned against “loitering on colonial premises”. Reading the speech, Barbados’ governor-general Dame Sandra Mason said: “The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind. 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.”

The country gained its independence from Britain in 1966, though the Queen remains its constitutional monarch. In 1998, a Barbados constitutional review commission recommended republican status, and in 2015 Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said “we have to move from a monarchical system to a republican form of government in the very near future”.

Most Caribbean countries have kept formal links with the monarchy after achieving independence. Barbados would join Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica and Guyana if it proceeds with its plan to become a republic. Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness has also said it is a priority of his government, but he has yet to achieve it.

[From Sky News]

It occurred to me as I was writing that I’m sure various commentators will find some way to blame Harry and Meghan for this. And in some sense, they may even be right – the entire world saw how the monarchy, the British establishment and the British press treated a young woman of color who merely fell in love with a prince. Meghan and Harry could have been used to modernize the Windsor-brand globally, but instead of that, Commonwealth nations watched as Meghan was abused by racists and exiled by her husband’s family. The Windsors are a bunch of small-minded, short-sighted colonialists. Get out while the getting is good.

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60 Responses to “Barbados has announced plans to leave the British Commonwealth, lol”

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  1. bluemoonhorse says:

    From reading the news on this, it seems this is being done due to their upcoming anniversary and that some of the other islands have already done this. So I’m not sure if it is due to M&H but do think it probably just cemented ongoing plans.

    • Myra says:

      Barbados is the first country in three decades to remove the Queen as Head of State (last one was Mauritius in 1992) . Other island states which are republic have been republics for a long time now (for most, shortly after independence). Barbados choosing its anniversary as the official occasion for the move might just be a symbolic decision.

      Indeed the republican movements pre-dates Harry and Meghan and likely have more to do with recent events such as the Windrush scandal, Brexit and racism discussion in the UK.

      The impact which I think Sussexit would have is to show the royal family as unfit to represent people of colour due to the inherent racism in royal institutions and the complacency and inefficiency of the monarch. I actually thought that countries would wait after the Queen passed away, but it doesn’t seem that way. The Queen can thank her grandson for that (the one in KP)

      • Pose83 says:

        Mauritius is back in the Commonwealth fold as of a few weeks ago.

      • Myra says:

        The Republic of Mauritius is still a republic and has been since 1992. I doubt Mauritius will ever rejoin the Commonwealth Realm, especially as they are currently contesting the Chagos Islands with the UK.

        Now, if you mean that Mauritius is a member of the Commonwealth (the organisation), then you would be correct. I didn’t realise they had dropped the membership to the organisation. Nevertheless, the Queen is still not the Head of State of Mauritius, though. She hasn’t been for a long time.

      • bluemoonhorse says:

        Thanks for the info. How does this fit in?
        “Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Dominica have all made the same move of removing the Queen as head of state after independence.”

      • Myra says:

        From Google, Guyana became a republic in 1970, so that’s definitely a long time ago. Both Barbados and Guyana gained independence in the same year. Maybe the article left out a lot of context.

        A lot of countries remained part of the realm even after gaining their independence, but eventually became republics, further down the line. They might have been hesitant of a drastic change or they might have been fearful of authoritarianism, which happened to many countries after independence (Cold War era).

  2. MaryContrary says:

    Oh yes-the Daily Mail and those horrible commentators will spin this as if Harry and Meghan had done their duty Barbados would have stuck around.

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      Gotta love most of the comments under Omid Scobie’s tweet about it. Most are completely positive/happy, and others say the same thing about how could they POSSIBLY think the CW would stay after the BRF had run out their only POC.

  3. lanne says:

    Well, they can’t very well justify the importance of the commonwealth if they can’t even allow a member of their own family to love a black person. “Keep us as head of state black people, but don’t try to think you can be one of us.” What a lovely message! What crackheads are in charge of the RF public relations?

    • Charlie says:

      How long before the Commonwealth chooses to be lead by someone who is not a member of the BRF, I wonder? The family’s leadership of the Commonwealth is not a given.

  4. lunchcoma says:

    It might have a bit to do with Harry and Meghan, but it also seems like 2020 is a time for wise countries to spend some time reassessing things. In the case of Barbados, it sounds like they’ve been considering this for at least a decade.

    • bluemoonhorse says:

      According the article I’m reading “Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago and Dominica have all made the same move of removing the Queen as head of state after independence.”

      “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.”

      • anotherlily says:

        Yes,and they are still members of the Commonwealth. There are also some countries in the Commonwealth which have never had the Queen as head of state.

  5. Becks1 says:

    I don’t think they’re leaving the commonwealth, just removing the Queen as the head of state. The Queen doesn’t have to be the head of state for a country to still be part of the commonwealth. But, I still think this is a significant move and it will be interesting to see what countries follow.

    • Bettyrose says:

      Becks, serious question, what does it mean to be part of the commonwealth without TQ as head of state?

      • Becks1 says:

        I honestly don’t know beyond what I googled yesterday, lol, but there’s a difference between being a commonwealth realm (having the queen as HoS) and a commonwealth country.

        These are the realms:
        Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, The Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Solomon Islands, Tuvalu, and the United Kingdom.

        Google also tells me this:
        Commonwealth member countries benefit from being part of a mutually supportive community of independent and sovereign states, aided by more than 80 Commonwealth organisations. The Commonwealth Secretariat, established in 1965, supports Commonwealth member countries to achieve development, democracy and peace.

        I think we have some posters here who live in CW countries so hopefully they can chime in with more actual info not from google, lol. I may be wrong about Barbados not leaving the CW too.

      • Nic919 says:

        India is part of the commonwealth but does not have the Queen as head of state, as it is a republic since 1950. So basically this means more Caribbean countries would be like India.

        I am hoping this encourages Canada to do the same. We don’t need a British lady as head of state here either. Also our current GG is causing a ruckus with how she treats her staff and so most Canadians are again asking why we even need a GG. I think adopting the Irish approach of a ceremonial head of state is the best way to transition.

    • (TheOG) Jan90067 says:

      Some commenters (again, under Omid) were saying that they didn’t want a “foreigner” as head of state, so that doesn’t bode well for Charles, either. His head’s gonna explode!

    • Myra says:

      @Bettyrose There is the Commonwealth realm (countries with the Queen as their head of state) and the Commonwealth of Nations (a voluntary international organisation of 54 countries with shared history). Barbados is only leaving the realm and becoming a republic. It will likely stay in the Commonwealth of Nations. The Commonwealth (the organisation) is funded by all its member states and not just the UK, and they basically undertake programmes which benefit its members on issues such as ocean governance, environment, education etc.

    • RoyalBlue says:

      correct becks1 they are just removing the queen as the head of state and become a republic but they remain part of the commonwealth. they want to get rid of the governor general and appoint their own president as head of state. as a citizen of a former U.K. colony, my island both got independence and then became a republic. it means the queen is no longer on our currency, and we have our own president in addition to a prime minister. we have a parliamentary democracy based on the same westminster system but we call all the shots. we still remain part of the commonwealth which is basically made up of england and her former colonies. but no control is exerted through that membership.

      • Thirtynine says:

        Although the Commonwealh grew out of the British Empire, then became the British Commonwealth, before becoming the Commonwealth of Nations, not all former British colonies became part of it, and not all members were former British colonies (Mozambique and Rwanda I believe were French colonies). So it is a little more fluid and evolving. I salute you, Barbados, and wish you well with all my heart. I would LOVE to see Australia follow your lead here.

    • SKF says:

      Yeah this article and a lot of the comments are incorrect. The Commonwealth does not consist of nations with the Queen as Head of State. It is made up of former territories of the British Empire. Of those member states, the Queen is the Head of State of 16 (soon to be 15!) – known as the Commonwealth realms, 33 members are republics and 5 members have different monarchs. Countries like India are still part of the Commonwealth.

      So Barbados is removing the Queen as Head of State but they will likely still remain in the Commonwealth.

      It is expected that when the Queen dies, a lot of other Commonwealth Realms will ditch the British monarch as their Head of State. I hope that’s what happens here in Australia!!

      The Commonwealth doesn’t ‘do’ much to be honest. There is a Commonwealth Charter that enshrines shared values of democracy, human rights and the rule of law, which honestly is kind of meaningless. The biggest thing is the Commonwealth Games.

      But if the UK took the Commonwealth seriously, Commonwealth nations would have special priority visas or at least special queues at entry points into the UK and we’d reciprocate. That is not the case.

      My grandfather, who fought with the ANZACs to protect Britain in WWII in the unit with the highest loss of life of any (the Lancaster Bombers) and was a POW, was dumped in the UK at the end of the European part of the war, and told to make his own way home. He never received any special entry into the UK in recognition of his sacrifices.

      I think it’s awesome that Barbados is doing this and that they didn’t wait. I don’t think the current optics of the racist bullsh*t in the royal family helps; but it’s not the reason Barbados is doing this by any means. I look forward to the day when the Head of State of my own country is from my own f—king country – not a Brit who cheers for the other team when we play sports against each other.

      • Wolfie says:

        I’m Canadian and live in the UK and bizarrely I got the right to vote here I believe due to my Commonwealth status. So there may be some “perks” for commonwealth country citizens vis-a-vis the UK (although not visas)

  6. ABritGuest says:

    Good for Barbados. They are just looking to have a Bajan head of state. I hope they definitely go through with it as this has come up previously. Even though she literally is just a figurehead and Barbados is independent, the Brexiters who are pro sovereignty are very upset online & blaming BLM 😂.

    Oh well no Harry to try and charm like when he did that Caribbean tour and the staunch republican prime minister Portia was loving him.

    It’s good, it’s way past time to address these colonialist links. This has been a long time in the making but think the current climate just brings more urgency and we are seeing expressions of regret for King Leopold etc.

    Apparently the commonwealth is looking at a truth& reconciliation event potentially. British government & the Firm better get with the programme

    • Nic919 says:

      I didn’t realize that some Carribean countries still had the UK privy council as their top court. That has got to be an issue as well.

  7. Original Jenns says:

    This may not be due to Meghan and Harry, but in the grand scheme, I don’t think it matters. This hits her where it hurts. The end of her reign punctuated as the monarch to lose some commonwealth countries while protecting her son who “allegedly” raped trafficked teenagers will not sit well with her.

    I hope more countries follow. I hope by the end, King Charles is the end of the monarchy and it’s dissolved into museums and historical sites and items for the people. No, William, you can’t sneak off with those paintings and furniture. That belongs to the tax payers. As do ALLLLL of those properties you loiter in – I’m not 100 percent sure, actually, I know the family owns some and are “keepers” for others. But where else did much of their money come from except the people. Maybe take Norfolk as a severance package when he goes back to quarter time flying for a living.

  8. Seraphina says:

    Long may the reign continue – may these countries leave one by one. Up next: no more monarchy.

  9. Lady D says:

    Come on, Canada.
    Ftr, I’ve come to really hate the word republic. It’s a visceral reaction to the word due wholly to Trump. As much as I want our country to be a republic, I’m having a hard time with it too now, again thanks to republican Trump.
    (still want a republic)

    • Honora says:

      Meh. Taiwan’s a republic and a great country while China is supposed to be socialist and communist but it’s a dictatorship with massive inequality. Those words don’t mean much to me

    • RoyalBlue says:

      you can have a republic without having the US version of republic. there are many other political models to follow,

      • Thirtynine says:

        Yes, exactly. The last time we had a referendum on a republic, the question was deliberately slanted towards ‘no’ as it contrasted the alternative choice as a US style republic, which, sorry to say, looks good to nobody. It doesn’t have to be that way of course- but the damage was done.

    • Nic919 says:

      If it makes you feel better, Canada is called a confederation because John A Macdonald was a fan of confederacy and decided to misname Canada as a confederation instead of what it is really is, a federation. The old racist PM let confederates hide out in Montreal for a while too.

      While the US is currently messy, we can look to Ireland, another republic that broke off from the UK and make our GG position something like their head of state. Ceremonial.

      • Purpeller says:

        And we’re also not a member of the commonwealth organisation, though every now and then some eejit suggests we should join it so we could participate in the games, etc.

        We’re grand thanks.

    • Myra says:

      Two types of republics I am familiar with are the ones where the President is the Head of State and Government and the ones where the President is the Head of State and the Prime Minister is the Head of Government. The US is more like the former, but it is also the only country I know of where majority votes don’t count. In France, where the president is the head of state and the head of government, majority votes count and the candidate with the most vote is elected president.

  10. HK9 says:

    Good for them. What good is it to be in a Commonwealth that can’t absorb one biracial person into the family, and to top it off snub them at the Commonwealth service for all to see. As someone of Jamaican heritage, I hope Jamaica is next.

    • PrincessMe says:

      I’m Jamaican and I hope we’re next too. Lip service has been paid to this issue for quite a while now, it’s time for them to just do it.

  11. Islandgirl says:

    Just a correction…you can remain a member of the Commonwealth even if the queen is not the Head of State.
    From what I know the head of the Commonwealth is not hereditary and in 2018 the queen really had to lobby for Charles to be her successor.

    The Commonwealth is mostly made up of black and brown people who are not blind and are not influenced by the RR.

    The BRF need to be careful…..we are watching and we may not be as vocal as the commentators who make disgusting comments after delusional articles from the RR but we.are.watching.

  12. sunny says:

    Um, West Indians saw what happened with the WindRush scandal. My grandfather, a man from Dominica who lived almost his entire adult life in Britain, who along with my grandmother fathered 5 British children, would often say to not underestimate Britain’s racism. I am glad that these countries are advocating for themselves and ditching outdated symbols that don’t benefit them.

    Also. I would say that to the extent that Commonwealth countries care about the royals, most POCs I know who come from Commonwealth countries did not the absolute garbage way the royal family treated its only black member.

  13. Charfromdarock says:

    I was delighted to hear this today. Each time she is removed as head of state, it makes it easier for the next.

    All the issues with the current RF aside, I don’t think we can have a true reconciliation while the Colonizer is still the head of state, symbolic though it may be.

  14. L4frimaire says:

    I don’t think this has anything at all to do with Harry and Meghan. Obviously treating her so badly exposed their nasty underbelly but things like this take years of discussion and planning. I think the Windrush scandal, and how they treated West Indian immigrants who resided in U.K. for decades might have had some bearing, as well as Brexit UK. Also, they probably want to do this before the Queen passes because they don’t want Charles and William as their heads of state. It’s ridiculous to see those two representing these countries. Also, the US and China have so much more influence economically and for US, culturally as well.

  15. NewKay says:

    Mia Motley- the Prime Minister of Barbados is a bad a%%!!

    Love her

  16. Florence says:

    They want a Bajan HoS now, right?

    Come on Rihanna, take your place

    • KK says:

      @Florence. Ha! I had this thought also. Why not?

      Good for Barbados. That photo of her walking down the street in Barbados is a perfect illustration of the problem— one of these things is not like any of the others! How can she reasonably be their head of state?

      • Jane's Wasted Talent says:

        The photo illustrated the same conclusion for me in a different way. What I noticed was the Queen walking past school children and ignoring their cards/gifts/whatever-it-was they were trying to hand her while she simply grinned and walked on. As though they were her serfs.

        Which I guess could take us back to your conclusion, really.

  17. Sofia says:

    Agreed with others that this (probably) has nothing to do with Harry and Meghan but rather wanting a head of state that doesn’t sit in a palace 9,000 miles away

  18. AGreatDane says:

    As a Trini, welcome to the Republic club Barbados! Next step is removing the Privy Council as the highest court of appeals. The Caribbean has CARICOM for regional cooperation. We need to focus on building our relations within CARICOM, not appeasing absentee British landlords who use our countries as tax-free playgrounds.

  19. GrnieWnie says:

    Can we do this, Canada? Just fully sever that remaining identity link, so we can forge a totally independent one? Do we not have that confidence, yet? On n’a pas besoin d’un Gouverneur Générale…

  20. swirlmamad says:

    MY PEOPLE!!! My cousin sent an article about this on our family WhatsApp this morning and I immediately thought of how and if this would be covered here. The flight from the Commonwealth begins….

  21. Liz version 700 says:

    I am sure Statesman Bill and his trusty CEO are all over this. Bawawahahhahaha Run Barbados get away from this Petty Racist family.

  22. Keroppi says:

    At the next Commonwealth games, there should be a race to see which nation becomes a republic next. It would be the most-watched event! Go Canada Go!!

    • cherriepie84 says:

      @lunchcoma, unfortunately it is not tied to M and H. Most caribbean countries have been having these discussions for decades. Removing the England based Privy Council as our last appellate court in favour of having our own Caribbean Court of Justice is also another decades long discussion. I salute the Barbadian Prime Minister for this “brave” move and hope other caribbean nations will follow but I highly doubt that will happen.

    • cherriepie84 says:

      Sorry Keroppi, was trying to respond to a comment above :) but yes, such a race would be quite interesting! I would want my island to win….

  23. cisne says:

    No they are not leaving the commonwealth …they are becoming a Republic meaning that the Queen is no longer their ceremonial head of state. Former British colonies like Barbados on becoming independent countries…have to make a decision to retain the Queen as head of state even if just a figurehead with no real impact or effect governance or to remove that ceremonial figure head the Queen entirely.

    If you do remove the Queen you become a Republic. Barabdos will now be a Republic 50+ after becoming an independent nation.
    There are many current republics former British colonies that are current members of the Commonwealth. No country would leave the commonwealth because the shares so serious largent ( alll from the their exploits of these same former colonies) with strings attached of course. But for “developing” countries (exploited and depleted former British colonies) those funds come in handy. So no country would leave the Commonwealth.

    But this is still a snub of the Queen and BRF directly and not UK in general. You can still lol at her. Trust me Barbados was the jewel in Caribbean for them. It still symbolically is their place of choice in the Caribbean to today.

  24. Lizzie says:

    Is Scotland likely to leave the UK or just tabloid nonsense?

    • Purpeller says:

      They’d have to have another independence referendum. The last one was decisive but Brexit has put the cat amongst the pigeons again. It’s very possible but it would a protracted process – very messy.

  25. A says:

    This is definitely an interesting development, and worth keeping an eye on. I don’t know the political context at play here, and I don’t think every situation is the same as it will be for Barbados when it comes to transitioning into being a republic, but it’s going to be the blueprint or at least brought up as the blueprint for similar movements in other countries where the Queen is still the head of state.

  26. duchess of hazard says:

    Come on Jamaica, follow through. From my knowlege, a lot of these arguments were around circa 2001, but intensified when Britain was celebrating 200 years of abolishing slavery, circa 2007but the Prime Ministers of Britain refuse to apologise, because to apologise is to open the doors for a converstation about reparations which Britain refuses to have.

    On top of that, there’s the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council which is based in the UK and the fact that certain countries differ from the UK re: certain issues (like the death penalty).

    But it’s about bloody time though. It’s not as if the Queen cares about the Commonwealth, tbh. I’m glad that she’s living to see the mothballing of the empire on her watch.

  27. LisaT says:

    As previously stated numerous times this is not expected. However, it’s not a high priority for most Bajans. The cost of living continues to increase as well as crime and then dealing with things in Bajan time (things happen when they happen).

    My family had an emergency last year in NYC and needed an expedited Barbados passport. We were told it would take two weeks. Many Bajans shop in US and ship barrels home only to then be hit with customs fees. Closure and quarantine due to coronavirus have left businesses all over the island shutdown for months. Even with a pegged currency, tourist continue to talk about how expensive Barbados is.