“It’s long overdue”. That’s how Senior Counsel Anthony Astaphan is responding to questions about a decision by Antigua and Barbuda to remove King Charles III as the symbolic head of state.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne has said that Antigua and Barbuda will hold a referendum on whether to remove King Charles III as the head of state within the next three years
And this is one of the situations that needs to have the fullest national consensus of political parties and NGOs, because what’s the political interest in keeping the King as the head of state? What is the benefit, other than a reminder of our colonial past?” Astaphan said
Astaphan said he is a Republican at heart and the time is ripe, to get rid of the King as the head of state
“Why can’t we have a citizen, an elder statesman, a city that has done great public service to the country like what we have in Dominica…rather than having the queen and the queen’s pictures in the courts?” he said in an interview recently
King Charles III who took over the reign after his mother Queen Elizabeth died, has been facing the prospect that the territories will grow smaller.
Although Antigua and Barbuda became independent in 1981 it remained part of the Commonwealth of Nations
If the referendum is passed, the proposed change would see the country become a republic, which would remove the British monarch from being head of state.
Prime Minister Gaston Browne has said that his “does not represent any form of disrespect to the monarch” but rather, “it is a final step to complete the circle of independence to become a truly sovereign nation.”
Several Caribbean countries have removed the monarchy as their head of state and it will not be surprising if other countries soon cut their ties as well.