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Region’s sadness at Queen’s passing

Government 11 Sep, 2022 Follow News

Region’s sadness at Queen’s passing

Andrew Holness highly praised Her Majesty

King Charles III immediately succeeded his mother

Caribbean leaders were quick to send condolences over the death of Queen Elizabeth II, who died in Scotland on Thursday. But the outpouring of grief was also tempered with a renewed sentiment by former British colonial countries to turn republic. Nevertheless, the Cayman Islands premier has pledged loyalty to the British Crown.

“As our Head of State, our loyalty to the British Crown was strongest and most heartfelt under her reign. We remain loyal to the British Crown, but it has definitely lost one of its most precious jewels,” Premier Wayne Panton said.

The 96-year-old monarch was at her beloved summer home, Balmoral Castle, surrounded by the Royal Family. The region’s leaders hailed her seven decades of service while offering sympathy to her family and the British populace.

Andrew Holness, Prime Minister of Jamaica, described Her Majesty’s reign as “transformative and inspiring”, and said that the nation was saddened by her passing.

“The world has lost a global matriarch, who was a steadying and constant force throughout many crises and periods of difficulty,” Holness said. “Over the course of her 70-year reign, Queen Elizabeth II made an immense contribution to the world in public life and was a close friend of Jamaica. As the longest reigning British sovereign, Queen Elizabeth served with distinction, leading with dignity and grace.” He recalled the queen’s six visits to Jamaica, noting that she visited the island for decades up till 2002.

Guyana’s President Dr Mohammed Irfaan Ali said: “I join all Guyanese in expressing our profound and deepest sorrow at the death of Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II. Her passing marks the end of an era in the history of the British Monarchy, the United Kingdom, and the Commonwealth of Nations. Queen Elizabeth’s place in history is assured and her legacy is intact.”

Dame Sandra Mason, President of Barbados, extended “sincere and heartfelt condolences to members of the Royal Family, and the people of the United Kingdom”.

Trinidad& Tobago Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley expressed condolences to the newly-crowned King Charles III, the other members of the Royal Family as well as the British government and its people. Rowley said she left a lasting legacy and her life was marked by her strong sense of duty and dedication.

He said that although Trinidad and Tobago gained its independence and later became a republic, it recognises the queen’s lasting legacy, particularly her “selfless duty to the Commonwealth”.

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne hailed Her Majesty’s leadership of the Commonwealth of Nations as superb, stating that she was successful in uniting English-speaking states across continents and regions. He said: “Her Majesty’s life personified the simplest of qualities – tolerance and decency. Her ability to inspire and unite has been one of the many remarkable features of her life which we all admire.”

St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves said the late queen was a “woman of dignity”.

Premier David Burt of Bermuda said: “A life of undimmed duty, a model of strength and devotion to country. On behalf of the Government and people of Bermuda, I express sincere condolences to the Royal family and the people of the United Kingdom.”

Grenada’s Governor General, Dame Cecile La Grenade, said she was deeply saddened at the news of the queen’s passing and said she will remember Her Majesty “with great fondness and admiration”.

Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis tweeted: “We offer our sincere condolences to The Members of the Royal Family.”

Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit extended “deepest condolences” to the government and UK populace.

The Royal Family’s relevance has been questioned for decades and the death Her Majesty is likely to hasten the end of colonial ties to the British Monarchy in more black nations worldwide

Her death comes when Caribbean nations reassess their association to the Crown. Britain maintains a close relationship with many of its former colonies through the Commonwealth of Nations, a bloc of 56 countries, some of which still recognise the head of the British monarchy as their official head of state - even if they have their own elected governments.

Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica, the Bahamas, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Grenada all still recognise the British monarch as their head. But for how much longer? All have debated recently whether to break away or not.

Numerous former British colonies, most recently Barbados, have detached themselves from the Crown over the years, with leaders and activists citing its ties to slavery and their continued economic exploitation despite 200 years since the official end of the slave trade. The ascension of King Charles III, a less popular figure on the global stage, means many more republics are likely to soon emerge.

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