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Antigua renews republic debate

Regional 15 Sep, 2022 Follow News

Gaston Browne meeting the late Queen

Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne has said following the Queen’s death he will call for a referendum on the country becoming a republic within three years.

Antigua is one of 14 nations to retain the British monarch as their head of state, with Browne signing a document confirming Charles’ status as the new king. But minutes later, he said he would push for a republic referendum after indicating such a move earlier this year during a visit by the Earl and Countess of Wessex.

Browne told ITV: “This is not an act of hostility or any difference between Antigua and Barbuda and the monarchy, but it is the final step to complete that circle of independence, to ensure that we are truly a sovereign nation.

In April Browne called on the Wessexes to use their “diplomatic influence” to achieve “reparatory justice”, and outlined his country’s wish to “one day become a republic”. The earl was criticised as “arrogant” for joking that he had not been taking notes during Browne’s comments.

William and Kate, meanwhile, were accused of harking back to colonial days in Jamaica in March after the pair shook hands with crowds behind a wire mesh fence and rode in the back of a Land Rover, just as the Queen had done 60 years prior.

Demonstrators accused them of benefiting from the “blood, tears and sweat” of slaves, while in the Bahamas they were urged to acknowledge the British economy was “built on the backs” of past Bahamians and to pay reparations.

 William acknowledged after the trip that the monarchy’s days in the Caribbean may be numbered as he stated the future “is for the people to decide upon”.

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