BRIDGETOWN: Prime Minister Fruendel Stuart says Barbados will be moving towards a republican form of government in the near future, ending its centuries-old relationship with Britain’s Queen Elizabeth as its head of state.
“We cannot pat ourselves on the shoulder at having gone into independence; having decolonized our politics; we cannot pat ourselves on the shoulders at having decolonized our jurisprudence by delinking from the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council and explain to anybody why we continue to have a monarchical system.
“Therefore, the Right Excellent Errol Barrow decolonized the politics; Owen Arthur decolonized the jurisprudence and Freundel Stuart is going to complete the process,” Stuart told supporters of the ruling Democratic Labour Party (DLP) last weekend.
Although he did not indicate when the political move would be made, Stuart indicated it would be done soon.
“We respect (the Queen) very highly as head of the Commonwealth and accept that she and all of her successors will continue to be at the apex of our political understanding. But in terms of Barbados’ constitutional status we have to move from a monarchical system to a republican form of government in the very near future,” he said.
Stuart noted that the Barbados is already functioning as a republic.
“A republican form of government stipulates that those who run the people’s affairs should be chosen directly or indirectly by the people themselves. We already do that. We have been doing that continuously since 1951 when we got universal adult suffrage.
“Under republicanism, the persons who administer your affairs can serve during your pleasure. In other words, they should only be able to stay as long as you want them to stay. That’s what the people of St. Philip South said to me in 1999. So Barbados satisfies that requirement as well.
“The third requirement Barbados has to satisfy is that there are people in the administrative structure of the Government, and in this case we are talking about the members of the judiciary, continue to discharge the functions of their office as long as nobody can point a finger at them and accuse them of misconduct, and that misconduct turns out to be true.
“So once you are appointed or elected directly or indirectly, the people have a right to recall you,” he said.
Should Barbados adopt a republican form of government, it will join Dominica, Guyana and Suriname as the only Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries with a president as the head of state.