controversy during the Cambridge's tour
of the Caribbean, although this was really
about some politicians and activists trying
to shake things up. Royal tours
everywhere spark debates all the time.
In reality this tour was very successful.
The Queen was evidently not seen as a
colonial ruler in the West Indies and
continued to be appreciated by many. As I’m writing this, I’m
thinking about my Jamaican-British classmate at music
school who told me that "everybody dances about the
Queen" when she visited.
politicians and the general public. A lot of these countries in
the West Indies have threatened to “cut colonial ties” for
decades now but in most places little progress was made with
UK overseas territory Bermuda rejected independence in 1995
despite this being what their politicians campaigned for.
Bermuda would have remained a commonwealth realm even
if they had hypothetically voted yes. Bermudian politicians
continue to be nationalistic. Premier David Burt released a
statement following the Queen’s death, like most
commonwealth leaders, but what was rather concerning was that it read “I express sincere condolences to the Royal
Family and the people of the United Kingdom”, implying that
he is not acknowledging the queen's role in Bermuda.
Despite this kind of attitude from the Premier, the Queen did
make her fair share of visits to Bermuda which were greeted
with enthusiasm by the Bermudian people.
The decision of the Barbados government last year was rather
appalling; going ahead with removed the monarchy with an
act of parliament rather than a public referendum. The
justification for this was that the party in power won every
seat in Parliament and were explicitly republican in ideology.
Although, if you look at the broader picture; both major
parties have republican sentiment so who else were the people
supposed to vote for? The new head of state of Barbados was a
president chosen by their one party parliament who had
previously served as the Governor General. None of this
sounds very republican of them.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced her intention to do
this with a rather patriotic tone, saying that Barbados will “cut
colonial ties with Great Britain” on independence day.
Polling data suggests that Barbadians would have either preferred a monarchy, or would have been indifferent about
change, but a majority wished to be consulted about the
change. It’s sad to hear that Barbados was allegedly
encouraged to do this out of debt diplomacy with the PRC but
this really says more about their government than it does
The backlash during Prince William's royal tour obviously
caused him to feel quite remorseful. He acknowledged the
history of slavery in Jamaica and even conceding in the future
to ‘let the people decide’. Overall, the process to ‘ditch the crown’ is an empty threat and has been much slower for Jamaica than in Barbados precisely because the people must
Republicans in every realm have to a large extent waited for
Prince Charles to ascend before beginning to push for a
constitutional referendum. This has finally happened, though
if they want to make this a serious campaign, surely they
wouldn’t want to start too soon. Approval ratings of King
Charles III have gone up greatly since his ascension.
Queen Elizabeth II was obviously known to take her role
seriously in the West Indies, and there is no reason why King
Charles III can’t prove himself willing to do the same now.