Queen Elizabeth II in Barbados in 1966 during a Caribbean tour. Photo: Keystone/Getty Images
St. Kitts and Nevis is one of seven Caribbean island countries, and 14 total overseas territories, where King Charles III now reigns as head of state. But Foreign Minister Denzil Douglas tells Axios it’s time to chart a path to becoming a “truly independent country.”
What he’s saying: Some countries retained Queen Elizabeth II as head of state for “sentimental” reasons, he says. “She was not offensive to us,” though “of course, we recognize what the developing world suffered as colonies.”
- Since gaining independence while still in association with the U.K in 1967, “a lot has been done to change those circumstances,” and relations with the U.K. are “exceptionally good,” says Douglas, who previously served as prime minister from 1995 to 2015.
Yes, but: Barbados ditched the monarchy last year in favor of republican status, and Antigua and Barbuda said after the queen’s death that it would plan a referendum. Other countries are considering following suit.
- “It is a real trend more and more countries in the Caribbean are pursuing,” he says. “One of the cool things, though, is that one can still keep membership of the Commonwealth and continue a very good relationship with the United Kingdom.”
- Douglas says there is “no particular timeline” for a constitutional referendum, but it’s time for the conversation to start.
His bottom line: With the queen no longer on the throne, and after 39 years of independence, “it encourages people to recognize that we must confront our future in a real and positive way.”