Belize and Jamaica want to get rid of Charles and become a republic: ‘High time for goodbye’

Charles, still a prince in 2008, in Jamaica.Image AP

For Jamaica, the coronation of Charles, this Saturday, will play an important role in distancing itself from the British royal family. Attorney General Marlene Malahoo Forte said Thursday. “It is high time that Jamaica came into Jamaican hands,” the minister told Sky News. “We have to do it now, especially with the imminent transition in the monarchy.”

The country in the Caribbean wants to say goodbye to “a form of government that is linked to a painful history of colonialism and the slave trade,” says Forte. Jamaica wants to hold a referendum next year on the farewell of the British royal family.

The slavery past is also an important reason for Belize to put Charles aside as head of state. Belizean Prime Minister Johnny Briceño was in an interview with The Guardian Thursday extremely critical of British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, who does not want to apologize for the British slavery past.

‘Chance is great’

“I think he has a moral obligation to at least apologize,” Briceño said. “When you read and hear about the looting in the land of his ancestors, he has to apologize,” Briceño referred to Sunak’s Indian roots.

In the same interview, the Belizean Prime Minister says that Belize is also likely to become a republic. “There’s a good chance, yes.” When that will happen is not yet clear.

Jamaica and Belize are former colonies of Great Britain that have been independent for decades. Together with twelve other countries (including Australia and Canada) of the Commonwealth, they still recognize the king or queen of Great Britain as head of state. Thus, when Charles is officially king, he will be the head of state and Great Britain will have a governor in the countries. After the death of Queen Elizabeth in September last year, the prime ministers of Antigua and Barbuda said they would hold a referendum within three years on whether to leave the British royal family.

Correction: An earlier version of this article implied that all Commonwealth countries have the British king as their head of state. This is incorrect and has been corrected. The intention of Belize and Jamaica therefore means that the countries would become a republic, not (per se) a departure from the Commonwealth.

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