Barbados is shedding its colonial tradition and with it its head of state, Queen Elizabeth II. The government for the Caribbean island nation, which gained independence from Britain in 1966, said Wednesday that it would transition from a constitutional monarchy to a republic with a Barbadian head of state. The process is expected to be completed next November, in time for the 55th anniversary of independence, per the BBC. "This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving," Prime Minister Mia Mottley wrote in the Throne Speech, an outline of policies for the new session of parliament delivered by Governor-General Sandra Mason. The speech included a quote from Barbados' first prime minister, Errol Barrow, who warned the country should not "loiter on colonial premises."
"That warning is as relevant today as it was in 1966," Mottley wrote, per CNN, adding "the time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind." Buckingham Palace was not surprised. A source tells the BBC that the idea has been discussed on numerous occasions. A constitutional review commission recommended Barbados become a republic in 1998. That was more than two decades after other former British colonies in the Caribbean—Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Dominica—did just that. All three remain in the Commonwealth, an association of 54 sovereign nations, almost all of which are former territories of the British Empire. Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness previously suggested his government would follow the same path, per Sky News. Mauritius was the last country to remove the queen as its head of state in 1992. (Read more Barbados stories.)