No republic

Sir Henry warns of the dangers of following Trinidad’s example and abolishing the monarchy

Barbados’ newest knight says he will not back any attempts to move away from the British monarchy and have this island become a republic.

Sir Henry Fraser made his position clear in an interview with Barbados TODAY after he was named a Knight of St Andrew last weekend in the Independence Day national honours list.

Amid ongoing calls by academics and politicians in the Caribbean for countries to remove the Queen as the head of state, Sir Henry described that current status quo as a partnership and warned that if Barbados moved towards a republic it would do more harm than good.

Sir Henry Fraser
Sir Henry Fraser

“I see the monarchy as a symbol of a partnership, which we should use to build on, and that partnership can be beneficial to us in many ways. We, in Barbados believe in symbols; we love the rituals, conkies are every popular . . . our flag is a symbol, our anthem is a symbol . . .,” the Independent senator and former dean of the University of the West Indies     pointed out.

“The symbols are good but the symbols are only symbols of what should be within your heart; the symbols are only symbols of the partnerships that should be within the country,” he added.

Stressing that he was quite “okay” with the Queen as this country’s head of state, Sir Henry cautioned that “throwing off the monarchy does nothing”.

“It will make no difference to us economically, and it might, in fact, harm us economically,” he said, cautioning that there was deep distrust of countries that were republics, particularly in Latin America.

“People become distrustful of a country that moves to republican status and republics have a very bad name in Latin America. So, becoming a republic in the Caribbean may carry over some of the Latin America features and people may think, ‘oh yea, republics are not going to change their attitudes’.

In fact, he argued that “Jamaica was destroyed largely because of a discussion about those issues at the time that Mr Michael Manley was getting very, very friendly with Mr [Fidel] Castro and the economic fallout of that was enormous”.

Asked about Trinidad and Tobago, which became a republic in 1976, he replied: “It’s not coincidental that Trinidad, in spite its oil riches, [has] its dollar being one sixth of the US dollar.

“It’s not coincidental,” he stressed.

The official noted that there were already “strange things’ in the Barbados Constitution that provide autonomy to state-owned agencies where there should be more control and regulations.

“Why is it that we have so many government departments that don’t produce any financial reports? One can ask these things about small countries, independent countries,” he said.

“There is no question in my mind that in that big world when countries change their status they get looked at with a little bit of suspicion. We are in the region that is known as Latin America and the Caribbean and I would not like Barbados to be branded as a banana republic,” he added.

11 Responses to No republic

  1. Claudette Carrington
    Claudette Carrington December 3, 2014 at 1:37 am

    Well it is up to the majority.

  2. Robert Holloway
    Robert Holloway December 3, 2014 at 1:48 am

    53 countries that are independent belong and enjoy being part of

  3. Tony Webster December 3, 2014 at 6:00 am

    I venture to tread where a knight in shining armour awaits…in shining steel and with lance at-the-ready.

    Born when “God save the queen was as well-worn as “All Things Bright and Beautiful”, I have just passed theree-score and ten, and confess accordingly:-
    I have a great respect and admiration for Her Majesty, Elizabeth Regina ll. However I CANNOT see myself similarly according the next-in line.
    2. The process of civilisation; of human development, is not carved in stone. It is a journey, a process, and it has a contect. the human capacity to adapt- even, to evolve, and to discern the good from the ugly, and to improve what we take for ” menagful life”, is absolutely intrinsic in being human.
    3. The simple fact that we were (a) allowed to become independent, and (b) “encouraged ” (or pushed, it is not clear) to cast-aside the the Privy Council, is incontrovertible evidence that we have to face-up to the global dynamics, 350 years of british rule notwithstanding.
    4. The UK system, is itself flawed. witness the Great Conundrum vis-a-vis Scotland, and also it’s queasy relationship with the EU. They have some fundamental issues staring them in the face, right now, and some tough choices to make.
    5. There is ample evidence of many thriving democratic nations, whose origins match ours, and who have transitioned into modern socio-political regimes, which have both retained the best of democratic principles , and winkled-out some of the holy-cows (and some not-so-holy ones) , and acrcahic in-efficiencies, of kingdoms past.

    Oliver Cromwell got it right. England changed then. So can we now. Effin we get the constitution “right’, AND we put the “right” people in parliament to run this little, blessed rock. God Bless Bim.

  4. Andrew Pilgrim December 3, 2014 at 7:32 am

    I don’t agree with Sir Henry. How can we compare our experience to Jamaica when Manley was courting Castro? How can we connect the Trinidad experience with their dollar to their being a republic. Why would we be compared to Latin American countries. Why can’t we be compared to Dominica ? Better still , why can’t we forge our own path as Barbadians . We could lose the QC title and Sir Elliot could be our President. I am unaware of any country affected by simply announcing its maturity and not clinging to its mummy’s apron.

  5. Andrew Pilgrim December 3, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Will the time ever be right for it? Or will we always have a head of state in England? Will we change when one of the young Princes takes over ? What are we waiting for?

  6. Olutoye Walrond December 3, 2014 at 11:23 am

    There is no issue that produces more confusion in the minds of Barbadians than that of republicanism. Mention the word and suddenly people have visions of anarchy, dictatorship and every socio-political malady. The views of Sir Henry, normally a very coherent and logical thinker, are a case in point.

    A republic – as defined by the dictionary – is a state in which supreme power is held by the people and their elected representatives, and which has an elected or nominated president rather than a monarch. In other words, if Barbados chooses to have its head of state elected – whether that person is a British citizen or a Barbadian – then we become a republic. If we choose a local person to be monarch we are a monarchy.

    There is absolutely nothing in that that can remotely be connected to political instability or dictatorship; that affects the value of your currency or that harms the country in other ways, as Sir Henry is suggesting. It would have been helpful if he had gone on to elaborate on his claims, but we don’t have the benefit of that.

    People will distrust us, he says; they’ll lump us with that group of “bad” Latin American republics. Really? And why would they do that? Do they lump the United States, Germany, France, Italy, Dominica, Trinidad & Tobago, Guyana and the myriad countries all over the world that are republics with Latin American countries? And what is this bad thing about Latin republics Sir Henry is suggesting to us? Many of them are now democracies.

    He tells us our monarchical system is a partnership. A partnership that produces what? Sir Henry needs to tell us how the people of Barbados benefit from this “partnership” with the British Crown.

    Republicism should have been the logical choice of Barbados at independence. It is not normal for one country to be hanging on to the apron strings of another. The late and great E. W Barrow told us our relationship with the British was not a happy one. In fact he said it was a very unhappy relationship.

    As a country with mature citizens, we don’t need to be forming neo-colonial partnerships with the people who enslaved, murdered and brutalized our foreparents. Of course we can have normal relations with them three hundred years later, but the notion of some love affair with them is totally outrageous and flies in the face of the historical facts.
    Emancipate your mind….

  7. Rickie Nurse December 3, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Olutoye Walrond, I am in agreement with your comments, because the fact that most persons have not taken the time to understand the concept of being a republic state. It is further compounded by the deliberate manipulation and misleading propaganda of certain political minded persons and politicians, to secure the opertunity govern this little rock called Barbados, they are giving the uninformed the idea that being a republic is the same as being a communist state.

    As for Sir Henry’s other reasons for not supporting Barbados becoming a republic, it is my opinion that it would be as act of total disrespect by him to say otherwise, having received his Knighthood with the Queen’s approval, to in agreement with Barbados becoming a republic state. We should not be surprised by his statement.

  8. Glyne A. Griffith December 3, 2014 at 5:12 pm

    Professor Fraser – Sir Henry Fraser – is wrong on this. He is correct that the move to republicanism, if it were to come, would be fundamentally symbolic, but symbolism, particularly regarding a peoples identity, national identity, is a serious matter. Symbolism was part of the strategy the colonial enterprise employed to privilege the colonizer and diminish the colonized.

    The material disenfranchisement and cultural belittlement that was fundamental to the modus operandi of colonialism was undergirded by the colonizer’s powerful symbolism. No formerly colonized country is truly emancipated and independent if it insists on holding on to the symbolic legacies of its former colonial ruler.

    We can acknowledge our historical ties to Britain, recognize the good, the bad and the ugly of that former colonial relationship and still move confidently towards republicanism.

  9. Winston Arthur Trechane December 3, 2014 at 10:36 pm

    “People become distrustful of a country that moves to republican status and republics …”

    Who are those people? The same people who enslaved and indentured other people into the lands that no one discovered?

    Oh what a night!

  10. Foul-mouth Budha December 8, 2014 at 1:15 am

    Well I, gine talk bajan in commenting on the sub-servient stoop position Sir Henry take to the feudal abusive monarchy. I’ll will simply say that under crown-law we’ve been reduced to chattle and criminals subject to the exploitations by the legal fraternities who are positioned as the sole-mediators between the people and the monarchy all the while being sworn servants of the said monarchy pretending to be representing the people for a fee. This in it self is an abomination, will removing the crown also remove these localized Vampires?


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