Did Barbados create a royal headache for Buckingham Palace when it so dramatically declared its break from the Queen on the 55th birthday of our Independence?
From the looks of it, the Palace has launched a serious charm offensive to remind the remaining members of the realm in the Caribbean that life is still good under the Queen and her heirs.
There are several countries that hold Queen Elizabeth II as their head of state, their politicians continue to happily swear allegiance to her Royal Highness.
We will not discount the high regard which some in the Caribbean still have for the British Monarchy. We also understand that it certainly would not be a good look for others in the region to follow our lead and ditch the Royal Family with such fanfare and aplomb.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley made it one of her early pledges on being elected to office, that it was time to complete the process started by our founding father of Independence and national hero, Errol Walton Barrow.
Barrow advised us not to be found loitering at the colonial premises and guided us to Independence on November 30, 1966. However, the country walked the rest of way to republican status in November 2021, though many are unhappy that we did so in the absence of major constitutional reform.
Our President, and then Governor General Dame Sandra Mason told us: “Having attained Independence over half a century ago, our country can be in no doubt about its capacity for self-governance. The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind.”
But the bold and decisive action we took has apparently ignited some anti-monarchy feelings among our Caribbean neighbours. In fact, the rallying cry to drop the Queen reverberated as far as Ottawa in Canada and Canberra in Australia.
In the meantime, Buckingham Palace has sent the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge – William and Kate to the Caribbean to affirm that the Royals are still relevant and that they care about the subjects in the Caribbean.
According to the British, the two, who are heirs to the throne after Queen Elizabeth II passes it to her first son, Prince Charles and his wife Camilla, are in the region to mark 70 years on the Throne for Queen Elizabeth.
We cannot help but wonder what real connection these young Royals have with us in the Caribbean.
With the push for reparations for hundreds of years of slavery under our colonial masters still an unresolved and highly controversial issue in Britain and the Caribbean, it must be uncomfortable for William and Kate, as well as for people in the region.
As usual, Caribbean people will put on a friendly face for guests. However, it seems that not everyone is prepared to roll out the welcome mat and pretend all is well between the Monarchy and its subjects.
In Belize, which was the first stop for the couple, a group of incensed indigenous people protested their arrival and let them know emphatically that they were not welcome.
To avoid an embarrassing situation, the two cancelled part of their tour last weekend when the Belizeans staged a protest.
Reports in the British media suggest that protests are likely to follow the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge in Jamaica, which is their next stop. A protest has reportedly been planned by a group called the Advocates Network. The coalition has also written an open letter calling for the British monarchy to pay reparations for slavery, a system that forced black Africans to the region to labour on plantations, the profits from which were used to enrich many British aristocrats and build the British empire.
Already, in The Bahamas people are asking serious questions about the costs associated with hosting the couple and their entourage, who will be heading to the archipelago after they leave Jamaica.
Bahamians are reportedly incensed that the entire bill for hosting the group including accommodation, meals and other expenses will be paid for by Bahamian taxpayers.
Having gone through the worst pandemic crisis in 100 years, back-to-back devastation from major hurricanes, many Bahamians were angry to discover the wealthy royal couple and their travelling staff are enjoying such freeness on the backs of citizens.
“It is customary for the host country to absorb the costs, accommodations, meals for the couple and the staff,” said Jack Thompson, the permanent secretary in the Office of the Governor General. The Press Secretary to the Bahamas Prime Minister was also unable to give the public information on the cost of hosting the group.
Having not heard William and Kate express any public sentiments of interest in Caribbean people and our circumstances, it is difficult to find genuine relatability to this latest crop of royals.
We expect that the march away from the monarchy is building momentum and others are likely to follow us and complete the Independence process.