Within the next few years, Antigua and Barbuda will hold a vote on whether to become a republic and abdicate King Charles III as head of state, according to the Caribbean nation’s prime minister.
The former British colony became independent of the UK in 1981, although it continues to share the British monarch as head of state with 14 other nations in addition to the UK. It is a member of the Commonwealth, an association with 56 members, most of them former British colonies.
King Charles III was recognised as the king of Antigua and Barbuda on Saturday, and prime minister Gaston Browne told ITV News that he intended to organise a vote in the following three years on whether the nation should become a republic.
He added that it is not intended to “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.” “This is a matter that has to be put to a referendum for the people to decide,” he said.
In order to become a really sovereign nation, he said, it would be “the last step to complete the circle of independence.”
After the then-Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, William and Catherine, travelled to three Commonwealth nations — Belize, Jamaica, and the Bahamas — to commemorate Queen Elizabeth’s 70 years on the throne, concerns were expressed regarding the monarchy’s continued presence in the area in March.
The journey was troubled, but the prime minister of Jamaica assured them that the nation was “moving forward” and would eventually realise its “genuine dream” of being “independent.”
By establishing itself as a republic last year, Barbados cut its final imperial ties to Britain.
The choice by Barbados to do away with the British queen as head of state was the first in nearly three decades. Mauritius, an island nation, did it last in 1992. Barbados has continued to be a member of the Commonwealth, like that nation.