Focus – The ABCs of Decolonization of Barbados

“The destiny of Barbados is independence.” Errol Barrow 1966

Dfter virtually 5 centuries of affiliation with the British crown, the individuals of Barbados put an finish to the constitutional monarchy system that since their independence in 1966 that they had maintained and structured within the gentle of the Westminster mannequin.

Seen from the angle of the Dominican Republic and the remainder of the Hispanic Caribbean, the step taken by Barbados instantly raises all types of historic, political and authorized questions.

Has Barbados now turned impartial or was it already?
Barbados was already impartial since November 30, 1966, after intense negotiations with the British authorities then led by Labor Harold Wilson.

And if Barbados was already impartial then what occurred on November 30?
What occurred was that Barbados lastly determined to remove the British mannequin of constitutional monarchy that it had inherited from its former colonial grasp. It was exactly the permanence of the so-called Westminster mannequin on its soil that stored Barbados tied to the British royal home and Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state — regardless of having gained full independence 55 years in the past.

Barbados’ determination to remove the “British” constitutional monarchy system and proclaim itself a “republic” with its personal head of state constitutes the end result of a protracted strategy of constitutional decolonization that started within the postwar interval with the Montego Bay Conference of 1947 and that lastly materialized because of the proclamation of its independence 19 years later.

It needs to be famous that Barbados’ independence got here as a consequence of a geopolitical transactional settlement between Washington and London at some of the crucial moments of the Cold War – when the British might not finance their imperial claims within the United States. The Caribbean and North Americans afraid of the ability vacuum that may come up from the British withdrawal pressured their transatlantic allies to require Barbados to take care of (even after independence) its hyperlink to the British crown via the constitutional monarchy system.

Is the political change in Barbados extra beauty than substantive?
This is extra of a symbolic slightly than a substantive change as Barbados has been an impartial nation for 55 years. The authorized sovereignty of the island was not what was at stake. What was at stake was to consolidate the decolonization mission. Barbados now joins Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica, and Guyana (all former British colonies) which had already proclaimed themselves republics because the mid-Nineteen Seventies.

Importantly, within the case of Barbados (not like Jamaica, Antigua-Barbuda, Grenada, St. Kitts, St. Lucia and St. Vincent) the best court docket of enchantment is not the Queen’s Privy Council. in London. That hyperlink had already been dissolved by Barbados in 2005 with the institution of the Caribbean Court of Justice positioned within the Trinidadian capital of Port of Spain.

Does Barbados nonetheless have a parliamentary system regardless of proclaiming itself a republic?
Yes. The head of presidency will proceed within the arms of Prime Minister Mia Mottley and her cupboard — deputies in flip within the native parliament below the banner of the bulk get together (Barbados Labor Party). The head of state, nevertheless, will fall to the brand new president (Sandra Mason) who, just like the presidents of Germany, Italy and Portugal (however completely different from the French president) will play an eminently ceremonial function.

Is Barbados nonetheless tied to the British Commonwealth?
Yes. The Commonwealth is an affiliation of voluntary membership that’s legally binding and during which over 54 former African, Asian, Caribbean and Mediterranean colonies already emancipated from London take part. Barbados has not and won’t withdraw its membership as a result of the overwhelming majority of its friends within the commonwealth are republics as properly (resembling Tanzania, Ghana, Nigeria, India, Pakistan, Cyprus, Trinidad and Tobago simply to call a couple of).

How will the connection with the British authorities proceed?
The diplomatic and financial relationship will proceed unchanged. So a lot in order that Prince Charles himself participated within the official occasions in Bridgetown. There is, amongst different issues, a bilateral funding treaty between Barbados and the United Kingdom courting from 1993 via which a considerable quantity of investments flowing between the 2 nations is structured.

What impact might Barbados’ determination have past its borders?
It is feasible that the step taken by Barbados produces a domino impact within the British Caribbean and really notably in Jamaica (the biggest of all of the English-speaking islands), which might herald the tip of the Windsors in Caribbean latitudes and the end result of constitutional decolonization. of our sister islands.

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