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By David Comissiong

One of the tragic consequences of having Queen Elizabeth II as Barbados’ Head of State is that it has caused many Barbadians to have a doubt – lodged somewhere at the back of their minds – as to whether Barbados is, in truth and in fact, an independent nation.

It has become clear to me that there are many Barbadians who are struggling to understand how Barbados could really be an independent nation if the Queen of England is our Head of State.  (Of course, the Constitutional lawyers have some arcane and convoluted legal theory about Elizabeth II being the Queen of Barbados, but when we ordinary Barbadian citizens contemplate our Head of State the personage we see is Elizabeth II, Queen of England.)

Indeed, I recently came across a social media post made by one of the unsuccessful candidates in our last General Election, in which this would-be political leader of Barbados was describing Barbados as a “Protectorate” of Britain!  His understanding of Queen Elizabeth II being Barbados’ Head of State is that Barbados is a weak and compromised “Protectorate,” rather than a genuinely independent and sovereign nation.

So, if we have hundreds or thousands or tens of thousands of Barbadians who are struggling to explain to themselves – or to their children – how it is that Barbados could really be an independent nation if the Monarch of England is Barbados’ Head of State, then we have a very serious problem that we need to correct as a matter of urgency!

And it is a serious problem because it means that this group of Barbadians will be afflicted by doubts about our national capacity, and will also find it very difficult to perceive the hard truth that our country is very much on its own in a very challenging international environment, and that our survival and wellbeing are solely dependent on our own efforts and initiative.

In light of the foregoing, I am extremely pleased that our Government has taken the decision to remove the monarch of Britain from the position of Head of State of Barbados, and to elevate one of our own native sons or daughters to that exalted national office. 

By so doing, we are removing the breeding-ground for negative and debilitating doubts about the “realness” of Barbados’ independence and sovereignty, and we are also making it absolute clear to every single Barbadian woman, man, girl and boy that Barbados is indeed an independent nation and that we Barbadians are in charge of our destiny.

 (The writer is Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM)

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