Since the death of Queen Elizabeth, I was uncertain how to publicly respond. I believe all Barbadians are similarly uncertain. Many who dared express sentiments of mourning on social media were rudely set upon by persons accusing them of supporting colonialism. Then the Government’s most revered Cultural Ambassador wrote the song, “Good Riddance to Rubbish” in direct reference to Her Majesty.
Less than one year ago, the Queen was the respected Head of State of Independent Barbados. All our elected representatives and appointed senators swore before God, on the damnation of their eternal souls, to be faithful to the Queen. Then we were informed that they had removed the Queen from being our Head of State, and we must all fall in line. This article attempts to make sense of the current uncertainty.
THE REPUBLIC CAMPAIGN
On 15th September 2020 in our Parliament, the Government stated that Barbados would “become a Republic by the time we celebrate our 55th Anniversary of Independence.”  The Queen’s response was immediate. She stated that becoming a Republic was “a matter for the government and people of Barbados”. 
The Government then immediately informed the
international news media, that Barbadians had given their consent for Barbados to become a Republic in the 2018 General election, stating: “we certainly campaigned on it in the manifesto”. 
A FOUNDATION OF ILLUSIONS
If this were true, then the Republic of Barbados would be founded on the sure foundation of the will of the Government and the consent of the public. However, all Barbadians know, and the Attorney General of Barbados has specifically acknowledged , that none of the political parties that participated in the 2018 General Election campaigned on Republicanism.
For the avoidance of doubt, there is no mention of any
plan to make Barbados a Republic in the BLP’s 2018 general Election Manifesto, 2016 Covenant of Hope, or 2013 general Election Manifesto. However, it is mentioned in their 2008 Election Manifesto, with their sacred promise of a public referendum.
FACTS AND FICTION
The international media ignored these facts. Foreign Policy reported: “Mottley, who has campaigned on republicanism, won a landslide victory in 2018 elections when her party won all 30 seats in the House of Assembly.” . iNews UK reported: “She campaigned on republicanism, ahead of her landslide victory in 2018 elections.” . Even the prestigious National Geographic reported: “Charismatic and outspoken, Mottley campaigned on republicanism to become the nation’s first female leader in 2018.” .
Instead of the promised referendum, we were subject to a campaign to get Barbadians to hate the Queen. Parliamentarians questioned her benefit to Barbados. The University of the West Indies accused her of racial hatred. Our established media mainly published the views of those who disparaged her. Rather than test their campaign with the promised and expected referendum, Barbadians who questioned the rush to republicanism were targeted with invective.
DECIDE FOR YOURSELF
Since we were forced into a republic that was built on a foundation of fiction, how should we respond to the Queen’s passing? Each person should count the cost and decide for themselves. Private mourning is a personal decision. Public mourning in this new republic should be done carefully.
Those who have been convinced that the Queen is their great oppressor and the root cause of their economic and emotional problems, will celebrate as if it were the death of the wicked. Those who were not persuaded by the recent negative campaign will mark their respect, but should expect ridicule.
Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer. He can be reached at [email protected]
 The Governor-General’s throne speech in the Barbados Parliament on 15th September 2020.
 The Guardian UK, Patrick Wintour (Diplomatic Editor), 16 September 2020.
 Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Phil Williams (Chief Foreign Correspondent), 17 September 2020.
 High Court Claim No. CIV 867 of 2021. Paragraph 42.l
 Foreign Policy, Stéphanie Fillion (United Nations based foreign affairs reporter), 28 June 2021.
 iNews UK, Michael Day (Chief Foreign Commentator), 26 November 2021.
 National Geographic, Jacqueline Charles (Pulitzer Prize finalist, 2018 Maria Moors Cabot Prize winner), 22 November 2021.