The deceased Elizabeth II was the queen not only of Great Britain, but also of more than ten other countries – such large ones as Australia and Canada, and tiny ones, like Tuvalu or St. Kitts and Nevis. The prospect of getting King Charles III as a new head of state in these countries does not suit everyone, which makes the issue of transition to a republican form of government urgent. The first sign was the Caribbean state of Antigua and Barbuda.
The authorities of Antigua and Barbuda will hold a republican referendum within three years, the prime minister of the island country said. If the inhabitants of the island country agree to live in a republic, then King Charles III will lose one of his crowns.
Antigua and Barbuda’s head of government, Gaston Brown, has said he will call for a referendum on whether the country becomes a republic within three years of the death of Queen Elizabeth II.
While Brown signed a document confirming the status of Charles III as the new king, but after a few minutes he announced that he would insist on a republican referendum. Actually, this statement did not come as a surprise: the politician pointed out such a step earlier this year during the visit of the Earl and Countess of Wessex to his state.
Antigua and Barbuda, located in the Caribbean, is one of 14 countries that have retained the British monarch as head of state, The Guardian notes.
Gaston Browne told ITV: “This is not an act of hostility or any distinction between Antigua and Barbuda and the monarchy, but it is the last step to complete this circle of independence to ensure that we are truly a sovereign nation.”
When asked about the timing of the referendum, the prime minister said, “I would say probably within the next three years.”
Brown told ITV on Saturday that his country would remain a committed member of the Commonwealth even if it rejected the monarchy through a referendum.
Note that the British-led Commonwealth consists of 56 states, many of which have become republics (India, Pakistan, Cyprus, Malta, Seychelles, Maldives, Kenya, Tanzania, etc.), and some have never been under the rule of the British crown (Rwanda and Mozambique).
Back in April, Gaston Brown urged the Earl of Wessex (Prince Edward) during his trip to Antigua to use his “diplomatic influence” to achieve “justice” and outlined his country’s desire to one day become a republic.
Prince Edward was criticized as “arrogant” for joking about not taking notes during Brown’s comments.
Meanwhile, Prince William and Kate Middleton have been accused of revisiting colonial days in Jamaica in March after the couple shook hands with a crowd behind a wire mesh fence and rode in the back seat of a Land Rover like the Queen 60 did years ago.
The demonstrators accused them of profiting from the “blood, tears and sweat” of slaves, while in the Bahamas VIPs from London were urged to recognize that the British economy was “built on the backs” of the Bahamians and pay reparations.
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness suggested to William and Kate that his country could be the next republic, and the Belizean minister subsequently said that perhaps it was time to “take the next step towards truly becoming independent.”
After the trip, William acknowledged that the days of monarchy in the Caribbean could be numbered, as he stated that the future was “for the people”.