Rihanna's native Barbados looks set to remove Elizabeth II as its head of state by 2021.
“The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind,” said Barbados Governor General Sandra Mason on behalf of the country’s Prime Minister Mia Mottley. “Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state. This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving."
Twitter users immediately put forward one of the most internationally beloved Barbadians of all time, Robyn Rihanna Fenty. "Barbados already has a Queen and her name is @rihanna," noted Simon Naitram, a lecturer at Barbados' University of the West Indies.
When will Barbados become a republic?
The prime mister has confirmed that Barbados will take the next step toward full sovereignty and become a republic by the nation celebrates its 55th anniversary of independence in November 2021.
The former British colony gained independence in 1966 and is currently a parliamentary democracy and a constitutional monarchy.
Why do Barbadians want to become a republic?
The press secretary to the prime minister of Barbados told Reuters that there was no particular trigger for the timing of a renewed push to become a republic other than fulfilling a longstanding promise by the island’s politicians. However, there has been growing criticism of the island's colonial history and frustration with the government’s delay in removing colonial-era statues.
The island was claimed for England in 1625 when Captain Henry Powell landed. The British then transformed the island to serve the Atlantic slave trade.
Most of Barbados’s 286,000 inhabitants can trace their ancestry to enslaved Africans brought to the West Indies by the British in the 17th century to plant and harvest sugar cane. A smaller number of White laborers were indentured servants and prisoners shipped from Ireland.
The Governor-General stated that Barbados is ready to cut the cord with the monarchy, adding that “the peril and uncertainty of the times compel us to reinforce our foundation.”
Have other countries done this before?
Since Mexico voted on the issue in 1863, there have been 33 referendums on whether to abolish monarchies around the world. A referendum is not required to become a republic under the island’s constitution. Instead, it will only need a two-thirds majority in both houses of parliament.
Most former British colonies in the Caribbean have kept their ties with the monarchy after gaining their independence. If Barbados does decide to retire the queen as head of state, it will join Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Dominica. Eight other Caribbean Community, or CARICOM, states in the Caribbean would still have the queen as head of state, the largest being Jamaica and the Bahamas.
Current constitutional monarchies around the world include Australia, Belgium, Canada, Jamaica, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Spain, Sweden, Thailand, and the UAE.