Photo: Gaston Browne, prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda, greets Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace on April 19, 2018. Source: Victoria Jones – WPA Pool/Getty Images.
On Saturday, following King Charles III’s official ascension, Antiguan and Barbudan Prime Minister Gaston Browne announced that he would hold a referendum within the next three years to decide whether to remove the British monarch as the country’s head of state and become a republic. As Browne explained in his announcement, “This is not an act of hostility…It is a final step to complete the circle of independence to become a truly sovereign nation.” King Charles is currently the monarch and head of state of 14 countries outside the United Kingdom (U.K.), including Antigua and Barbuda.
Earlier this year, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness told the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, during their visit to the country to mark the Queen’s platinum jubilee, that Jamaica would be “moving on” from the monarchy and becoming a republic. At least six countries in the Caribbean signaled their intent to follow Jamaica and replace the Queen as their head of state earlier this year. Last November, Barbados became the first former British Caribbean colony in the past three decades to sever its imperial link by placing Barbadian politician Sandra Mason as its first president and declaring itself a republic.