The Republic of Barbados.
That’s how Prime Minister Freundel Stuart wants this island to be referred to “in the very near future”.
And last night he promised Barbadians that he intended to complete the process of decolonization with the establishment of a republican form of government.
“We cannot pat ourselves on the shoulder at having gone into independence; having de-colonised 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 added.
He gave the assurance last night at the Democratic Labour Party’s St George South constituency branch meeting at St Luke’s Resource Centre as he addressed a gathering that included Minister of Education Ronald Jones, Minister of Housing, Lands and Rural Development Denis Kellman, Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM Robert Bobby Morris, several members of the Senate and heads of Government statutory boards and agencies.
Stuart did not give a timeline for the move.
However, he indicated it would be 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,” the Prime Minister explained.
Stuart pointed out that for all practical purposes, Barbados was already 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,” he said.
“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.”