Who is the President of Barbados

Caribbean: Barbados breaks away from the Queen

The former British crown colony of Barbados wants to break away from Queen Elizabeth II. Prime Minister Freundel Stuart announced that an elected president should become head of state of the Caribbean island instead of the monarch. Parliamentary democracy is to be proclaimed right on the 50th anniversary of independence from the United Kingdom in November 2016.

It is pointless to leave the Queen as head of state if the country is otherwise completely independent, said Stuart. "It is a bit uncomfortable to still get up in 2015 and pledge allegiance to the Queen to Her Majesty instead of pledge allegiance to Barbados," added the Prime Minister.

Buckingham Palace reacted calmly to the announcement. "It is a matter for the government and the people of Barbados," said a spokesman. The British Prime Minister David Cameron let it be known through a spokesman that he expected the procedure in Barbados to be "compatible with self-determination".

The debate about a republic has been simmering in Barbados for years: while the older islanders see the Queen as a symbol of stability, they call younger nationalists out of date. There are similar discussions in many countries that once belonged to the United Kingdom and are now independent - but still have the Queen as head of state. The former Caribbean colony of Trinidad and Tobago, for example, declared itself a republic in 1976. In 1992, Mauritius was the last country to renounce the services of the Queen for the time being. In Australia and Canada, on the other hand, Republicans have always been inferior in popular polls.

A two-thirds majority is needed in the Barbados parliament to change the constitution. Stuart's government currently holds this majority in the Senate, but not in the House of Commons. Opposition leader Mia Mottley has not yet said what she thinks of the plans.