As far as senior Government minister Donville Inniss is concerned, Barbados is 49 years late becoming a republic and anyone who thinks the country should wait any longer is “innately lazy intellectually” and has “no pride in being Barbadian”.
In a recent interview with Barbados TODAY, the Industry, International Business, Commerce and Small Business Development Minister added his voice to recent debate, following an announcement by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart last month that he planned to take Barbados that route.
While some have argued that Stuart’s announcement was an attempt to distract Barbadians from the economic situation, Inniss said he supported the move and saw it as the final stage in the island becoming truly independent.
“Those who have been keeping noise and saying it was a distraction and we should take our time are themselves innately lazy intellectually and have no pride in being Barbadian,” he said.
Inniss was adamant that Stuart’s announcement was not a diversion.
“We are very serious about it. Prime Minister Stuart is not one to make wishy-washy statements and be flippant. When the Prime Minister makes a statement you can rest assured it is well thought out and he is very focused,” he said.
“The reality is that after 49 years of Independence it is a tad bit embarrassing to know that we still have to swear allegiance to the Queen . . . Quite frankly, my view is that we are 49 years late in becoming a republic. It does not mean there will be any strained relations between Barbados and the UK. As a matter of fact, I believe the UK wants us to become a republic,” added the St James South MP.
Inniss said becoming a republic would demonstrate true sovereignty and show that Barbados was finally in control of its affairs.
Arguing that the British monarchy was irrelevant to present or future Barbados, the Cabinet minister said he did not see any harm to the economy should the island become a republic.
“There are those who say you need to get things right in the economy. I say in the days of plenty when we have a so-called buoyant economy, the Queen was the Head of State. In these current days where there are some challenges the Queen is the Head of State. So what is the relationship between the state of our economy and having membership in the British monarchy? Absolutely none whatsoever,” he insisted.
Inniss said while the country awaits Stuart’s next step in making his vision a reality, he would be engaging his constituents on the matter to make them fully aware of what the move would mean for the island.
He said there was a need for more general education of the issue.
“I realize it is a matter that provokes a lot of emotion and can be very divisive in this society, and that is why as a Government now our task is to go out there and educate and engage the citizens from all walks of life as to what it means to be a republic. Not just about becoming a republic constitutionally but also simultaneously about rekindling a sense of pride in being Barbadian and being in control of our destiny and being truly a nation that stands out as a beacon in global matters,” contended Inniss.