Monday , August 15 2022
In the wake of Black Lives Matter, the Caribbean reassesses the British crown.

In the wake of Black Lives Matter, the Caribbean reassesses the British crown.

Of all the places where Queen Elizabeth II remains head of state, the future of the monarchy looks bleakest among the nations of the Caribbean.

Last November, Prince Charles joined Rihanna and other guests at the ceremony in which Barbados dropped the queen as its head of state and became a republic. Now, six other Caribbean nations may follow suit.

In the wake of the Black Lives Matter movement, public sentiment toward the monarchy has soured, and calls for reparations for Britain’s often brutal role in the slave trade have been rising.

Separate tours of the Caribbean this year by Prince Edward, Charles’s brother, and by Prince William, the future king’s son, were the subject of protests over the monarchy and Britain’s brutal history with slavery. The protests forced the cancellation of some stops.

Standing next to William during his visit, Jamaica’s prime minister, Andrew Holness, said his country was “moving on” from Britain’s monarchy. “We intend to fulfill our true ambitions and destiny as an independent, developed, prosperous country,” Mr. Holness said.

In 1972, Arthur Foulkes was present as an opposition delegate to the Bahamas Independence Conference in London. Five decades later, he says it is time for a Bahamian head of state to replace the British monarch.

“I have great respect for Queen Elizabeth II,” Mr. Foulkes said. But he added: “The time has come for us to look beyond the monarchy. I think a lot of us have been thinking that way.”

While the appearance of William and his wife, Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, stirred debate locally, the couple was not met with notable protests or obvious resentment during their stop in the Bahamas.

The government of the Bahamas has not said that it plans to change the nation’s head of state. But Fred Mitchell, the minister of foreign affairs, has long pushed for the country to become a republic.

“We should have gone to be a republic at independence, but for various internal political reasons, it couldn’t be done,” he said. “When the Bahamian people are persuaded that that’s the direction they want to go in, we will head that way. But there’s no campaign at the moment for constitutional change in that direction.”

Patricia Glinton-Meicholas, a Bahamian author and historian, said discussions about who should be the head of state missed larger and more important questions.

“I’d rather use my voice to talk about those things that we need to fix in our own country,” Ms. Glinton-Meicholas said. “There are major problems from having a slave and colonial past.”

She said that it would be more productive if Caribbean nations pushed for reparations from Britain for slavery and colonialism, and that she would like them to take the form of educational institutions and museums that deal with the history and effects of slavery.

“We should be focusing on how we should repair the damage done,” Ms. Glinton-Meicholas said. “With reparations, give us institutions. Give money for that out of the wealth you acquired from these colonial territories.”

Rachel Knowles-Scott contributed reporting from Long Island, the Bahamas.

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