Barbados abolishes its monarchy

After almost 400 years under British rule, the Caribbean island nation of Barbados this week removed the Queen as its head of state. The new head of state is Sandra Mason, who previously served as governor general and the Queen's representative. The press examines the move from different perspectives.

Open/close all quotes
The Irish Times (IE) /

The Barbados version of Brexit

The move was long overdue, says The Irish Times:

“This was Barbados ... in its own version of a 'Brexit', shaking off the largely formal but symbolically important vestiges of an at-times brutal colonial rule. ... The legacy is not yet sorted, however, as the exclusions from the UK of its own citizens in the Windrush scandal reminded islanders. And prime minister Mia Mottley in July called again for Britain and former colonial powers to pay reparations to Barbados and its neighbours for the slave trade that between 1627 and 1807 saw British ships carry thousands of Africans to the island to work in vast sugar plantations in brutal conditions.”

The Spectator (GB) /

Xi has his foot in the door

Barbados and its 300,000 inhabitants may be splitting with the UK, but they are moving closer to Beijing, The Spectator notes:

“The decision appears to have been influenced to some degree by China's activities. Barbados has signed up to China's Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), while an office to facilitate investment in Barbados has opened in Beijing. Prime Minister Mia Mottley calls President Xi 'very engaging'. Barbados was among the first English-speaking Caribbean countries to establish ties with China, and Beijing is now making millions of dollars' worth of donations to the country's armed forces.”

Polityka (PL) /

Only the Queen holds the Commonwealth together

This is a bitter blow for the British Commonwealth, Polityka puts in:

“With its 300,000 inhabitants, the Caribbean island of Barbados had been a British colony since 1627, known for its sugar cane cultivation, slave labour on plantations and the immense wealth of the colonisers - because the island was always strategically important and prosperous. They called it 'Little England'. ... In addition to the mother country, there now remain 14 sovereign states that belong to the Commonwealth and recognise Elizabeth as their ruler, first and foremost Canada, Australia and New Zealand. As long as she remains on the throne, this list will only gradually melt away. But after that?”