Monarchy: We’re fighting to get out of this

In the Caribbean, the movement to abandon the monarchy is in earnest. Will Canada be the last to cling to this anachronism?

The former British colonies in the Caribbean mourn the loss of a sovereign whose reign spanned the proclamation of their independence and decades of democratic development.

I have a special fondness for this region, particularly Grenada, which I know well and where I notably served as an election observer for the Organization of American States.

The death of Queen Elizabeth II puts the abandonment of the monarchy back on the agenda, but Barbados has already done so over the past year.

strong bonds

In addition to Grenada, the task of monarchy is in progress in five other countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Jamaica and Saint-Christophe-et-Nevis (St. Kitts & Nevis).

In Barbados, the amendment passed with a two-thirds majority in Parliament, but some other of those countries will need a referendum of the same proportions to make it happen; not easy, but possible.

After gaining independence, these countries remained attached to the monarchy. In Grenada, even the far-left revolutionaries who seized power in 1979 made no attempt to relinquish it.

Complaints and Redress

That bond has weakened over the decades as distinct national identities have developed, but there have also been recent triggers far greater than the unpopularity of Elizabeth II’s heirs.

In particular, the rise of isolationist populism and anti-immigrant sentiment in Britain has hit Britain’s Afro-Caribbean residents hard and shattered perceptions of the monarchy in their home countries.

Since 2018, surveys have revealed that scores of legal Caribbean immigrants have been treated unfairly in the UK. What has been dubbed the “Windrush scandal” fueled anti-monarchy sentiment in the Caribbean and was a catalyst for the Barbadians’ decision.

Caribbean anti-monarchism is also fueled by historical resentment against the horrors of slavery. While members of the royal family have expressed regret over the time on recent visits to the region, it is not enough for those demanding nothing less than reparations from the crown, which owes part of its fortune to the sweat and blood of millions Slaves.

stay last?

It is expected that Queen Elizabeth’s death will hasten the end of the monarchy in the Caribbean, which could impact other countries currently facing Charles III. have inherited as head of state.

Nowhere will the abolition of the monarchy be more difficult than in Canada, where the constitution bequeathed to us by Pierre Elliott Trudeau makes such a change all but impossible. In fact, it would be constitutionally easier for the UK itself to abolish its monarchy than for Canada.

Canadians will therefore soon see many countries break free from this antiquated institution with no real hope of joining the movement. Bad tongues will say that’s a good thing, because Canadians love hereditary heads of state so much that they’ve given themselves a hereditary head of state as a bonus.

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