Republican aspirations back in British Caribbean | Death of Queen Elizabeth II

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Republican aspirations return to British Caribbean | Death of Queen Elizabeth II

A member of the Antigua and Barbuda armed forces marches through the capital city of Saint John's in honor of Queen Elizabeth II.

In the parliament of Antigua and Barbuda, a possible future for this Caribbean archipelago outside the British monarchy is increasingly being discussed, despite the mourning of Queen Elizabeth II, whose funeral was celebrated on Monday.

Thus, the death of the monarch has added grist to the mill of republican movements in this region once part of the British Empire, and where calls continue to be heard for the Crown to present apologies for its role in slavery and colonization.

This idea entered normal, “common sense” discourse as a larger portion of society grapples with these questions and asks, “What has the monarchy ever done for us?” says Kate Quinn, associate professor of Caribbean history at the University College of London.

Republicanism was a Caribbean reality before the end of the second Elizabethan era, says Kate Quinn, but its death and the accession of Charles [to the throne, editor's note] gave additional impetus to the debate.

Antigua and Barbuda became the first country to discuss the idea of ​​a republic after the death of the queen, when its prime minister Gaston Brown said in the press that he hoped for a referendum on the matter within three years.

His counterpart in the Bahamas, without giving a deadline, indicated that he had a similar project.

“For me, it's always on the table […] I will have to organize a referendum and that the Bahamian people say "Yes".

— Philip Davis, Prime Minister of the Bahamas

The latter made the statement the day after the death of Elizabeth II, according to the local newspaper Nassau Guardian.

And Jamaica is also planning to turn the page, as its Prime Minister Andrew Holness told Prince William during his sometimes-criticised Caribbean tour earlier this year.

All follow in the footsteps of Barbados, once called Little England, whose ruling Labor Party approved a constitutional amendment last year stripping the Queen of her status as Head of State.

For the people of Antigua, this example is both inspirational and circumspect. come out pretty well, Kelly Richardson, a stylist in Antigua and Barbuda's capital, Saint John's, told AFP.

For him, the Caribbean would be more united, stronger if the other kingdoms – Jamaica, Bahamas, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Antigua and Barbuda and Belize – became republics.

But others wonder if Antigua and Barbuda would take this path if Barbados had not taken it?

Was this on the agenda before Barbados took the leap? I just feel like it's not, so it worries me, said another resident, Reul Samuel.

Prince William's difficult tour in March was followed by a visit by Elizabeth's youngest son, Prince Edward, who had to cancel a stop in Grenada after pro-republic protests.

< p class="e-p">A poll conducted in Barbados before the regime change showed that with the exception of Prince Harry (41% favorable opinion), the rest of the royal family (Elisabeth II not included) peaked below 20% approval rating.

The recent questioning of the role of the British monarchy must be understood in the wider context of demands for reparations, the lack of an apology from the royal family for the role of the monarchy in the historic crimes of slavery and colonialism and their consequences today, among others, details historian Kate Quinn.

King Charles III denounced the ;appalling atrocity of slavery, which will forever mark our history.

In Jamaica, William echoed his father, expressing his deep sorrow over these heinous practices. It should never have happened, he said.

But no formal apology has been issued so far.

Republican leaning seems more pronounced in Caribbean nations that have already achieved political independence from Britain.

It seems unlikely that the Queen's death is pushing Britain's Overseas Territories – the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Turks and Caicos Islands, Montserrat and Bermuda – to seek independence, according to Kate Quinn. /p>

Be that as it may, the decision must be made by the people, not the politicians, the former prime minister of the United States told AFP. Bermuda, John Swan, who stepped down as leader of his party after independence was overwhelmingly rejected in a 1995 referendum.

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