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Barbados

The World’s Newest Republic

How one nation’s sovereignty movement is setting off a chain reaction among former British colonies in the Caribbean.

Though Barbados gained its independence as a constitutional monarchy in 1966, only last year did the nation formally sever ties with Britain—removing Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and electing the nation’s first president in the process. Removing the Queen as head of state is not a political endpoint, then, but one step toward reasserting Black Barbadian identity and sovereignty.” SOURCE: The Atlantic

What is the difference between the United Kingdom, Great Britain, and England?  Or what about the distinction between the Commonwealth, possessions of the Crown, and the British Empire?  It is easy stay out of the complicated nature of these questions, but many people in former parts of the British Empire are starting to delve into these questions; the death of Queen Elizabeth made many of these conversations more on the forefront of the public consciousness. Some Commonwealth countries like Barbados have distanced themselves from what they see as vestigial remains of a complex colonial heritage, and countries like Jamaica are seriously considering following suit.

Questions to ponder: What old forces have kept political connections between the UK and former colonies in place for so many decades?  What new forces are reconfiguring political and cultural institutions in the Caribbean?

TAGS: Barbados, colonialism, Middle America, political, sovereignty.

Queen Elizabeth and Barbados relationship change symbolizes a generational shift

Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley, new President Sandra Mason, singer Rihanna, former cricketer Garfield Sobers and Britain’s Prince Charles stand during the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony to mark the birth of a new republic in Barbados.

Perhaps against the wishes of an older West Indian generation, the new republic made a move that leaves an open question about what comes next. Barbados breaking with the Queen shows how younger leaders of color will continue to push their countries out of the shadows of colonial rule.” SOURCE: NBC News

Barbados has been an independent country since 1966, so what does this push against the remaining vestiges of the old British Empire mean? It means that the Queen will no longer be the nominal head of state with a local Prime Minister in Barbados; the new position of President will be fully acknowledged as the head of state without any deference to the Queen of England or the United Kingdom. Barbados is NOT, however, leaving the British Commonwealth, a trade association among former members of the British colonial empire. The great thing about the article linked above is the that while skeptics might say this is window dressing, but this symbolic shift is has some powerful cultural reverberations as a new generation is reconsidering the legacy of slavery and colonialism as they frame their future. Jamaica is another country in the Commonwealth now reconsidering their relationship with the British crown.

TAGS: Middle America, political, sovereignty.

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