No republic status anytime soon – Sir Hilary

Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies Professor Sir Hilary Beckles is not holding his breath in the expectation that Barbados will become a republic anytime soon.

In fact, Sir Hilary believes this country will be the last to remove the queen as head of state.

It was in late March last year that Prime Minister Freundel Stuart told a St George South constituency branch meeting of the Democratic Labour Party that “we have to move from a monarchical system to a republican form of government in the very near future”.

This, observers interpreted to mean it would have happened for the 50th anniversary of Independence this year.

Yet, nothing has happened since, in very much the same way former Prime Minister Owen Arthur failed to follow through after announcing in 2005, his own plans for replacing the queen with a Barbadian president.

Speaking last night at the launch of his latest book, The first Black Slave Society: Britain’s Barbarity time in Barbados 1636-1876, Sir Hilary suggested Barbados was not yet ready to break its direct links with the British monarchy.

“My expectations is that Barbados will probably become the last country in this region to become a republic.  I cannot see it. If you imagine that we cannot even get government to move Lord Nelson [statue] out of Parliament Square … a slave owner has a monument in our parliament square, and each time there is a conversation to move it there’s a public revolt. So how do you become a republic if you cannot remove an imperial warmonger slave owner . . . out of your parliament square?” he asked those gathered at the Errol Barrow Centre for Creative Imagination for the book launch.

In his presentation, the Barbadian historian again raised the issue of reparation, graphically comparing the treatment of African slaves on Caribbean plantations to that meted out to people held captive by international terrorist group ISIS.

“When we watch on television at night and we see what ISIS is doing to the people. What ISIS is doing to people is chicken feed, namby pamby stuff compared to what the English did to the Africans in the Caribbean. It is child’s play compared to what the English did to the Africans in all of these islands.

“When you read stuff like people being put in a cage and burnt alive, burning people in cages is a standard Caribbean practice,” he said.

Sir Hilary, who chairs the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Reparations Commission, appealed to regional leaders to better organize themselves in order to pressure Britain on the issue of reparation.

“Organized nations get reparations; and anytime you’re organized and you’re serious and you’re focused, and you put down conditions for your future relationships, then you will get the respect that is due to you.

“But disorganized, confused people who have doubts and so on will never get it; they’re going to move the goal post every time,” he told the audience.

National committees on reparations have so far been established in 12 CARICOM member states since the Commission first met in 2013.

10 Responses to No republic status anytime soon – Sir Hilary

  1. Dylon Bjorn
    Dylon Bjorn December 10, 2016 at 4:15 am

    Why is the queen still head of state?

  2. Dylon Bjorn
    Dylon Bjorn December 10, 2016 at 4:17 am

    If we are independent we should have cut all ties with the royal family.

  3. Alex Alleyne December 10, 2016 at 8:24 am

    No REPARATION either.

  4. seagul December 10, 2016 at 10:33 am

    If we are independent…The only way we’ll get freedom for ourselves is to identify ourselves with every oppressed people in the world. We are blood brothers to the people of Brazil, Venezuelan Haiti and Cuba….. Freedom in the Caribbean is the freedom to be taken advantage of by government-supported plantation type hotels and big business, the freedom to be jobless and destitute, and un-represented by the corporate whores called politicians. A freedom ruled by laws that are cobwebs for the ‘Sirs’ and chains of steel for the poor. As the longest reigning queen in the history of the British kingdom the only thing remarkable was how this system of sirs and lords maintained an immoral division among the people. There’ll be no republic soon and also no reparations, especially when there are people within this struggle carrying the title of ‘Sir’.

  5. Othneal Daniel December 10, 2016 at 12:32 pm

    Very interesting observations made by Sir Hilary can I get a copy of his latest book? Our colonial past has deprived us of an accurate appreciation of our history. Rectifying this tragedy would go a long way towards removing the ignorance that is perpetuating the desire to hold on to the archaic irony of the British monarchy that industrialised slavery and sustained it for 400 years The worst atrocity in human history.

  6. Sheron Inniss December 10, 2016 at 12:51 pm

    Sir Hilary, no disrespect, but how shall we become a republic or get reparations when we continue to sleep with the enemy? If my memory serves me correctly you and a whole host of others are honoured when these titles were bestowed by the queen. Truth be known, I don’t care if we ever become a republic. Just give me some politicians who know what they are doing and are willing to give their salaries to charity like Donald Trump. Then maybe I might just believe in hmm

  7. Jennifer December 10, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    @Seagul – well said. Its like you take their trinkets and still want to challenge them. Give them back their titles.
    Sadly there will be no reparations and no moving of lord Nelson.
    1. The people of Barbados is ill informed of their history and the role of Nelson so he ain’t going no where. some of our people will also thank Nelson for his role in their demise if he was alive. The level of blindness is that great. Bringing Harry here for independence celebrations is similar to a lord nelson.
    2. There will sadly be no reparations because there is no unity and also a level of separateness in who suffered the most out of the countries and so on. The blacks in the USA are our brothers and sisters too and we do not link them at all. They started their slavery in 1619. The entire Caribbean belt including the USA blacks should be included in this struggle. Sadly you will still not get any reparations. But it will be a good fight.

    We have no military might and they do not need us anymore to fill their federal reserve.

  8. Jennifer December 10, 2016 at 3:14 pm

    One of the main reasons why Barbados will not become a republic is because the people do not trust the politicians enough to let go of the British monarchy. I heard one woman say “we have to hold onto the British in case the government here do foolishness”. We need politicians who are true freedom fighters. And stop sleeping with enemy and remove the GG while you are at it.

  9. Carson C Cadogan December 11, 2016 at 7:21 am

    Let me remind all and sundry that Beckles is not the Prime Minister or is he a member of the Cabinet of Barbados.

    What he is expressing is his personal opinion. Plain and simple.

  10. Ossie Moore December 12, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    I Ossie Moore look at it this way! Just like playing cricket at BCL level I want 25 more years which come like runs in de second innings!


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