Barbados to ditch Queen Elizabeth as head of state, become a republic

Barbados, a former British colony, has announced its plans to remove Queen Elizabeth as its head of state and become a republic. Independent since 1966, the tiny island nation hopes to have its first president in time for the 55th anniversary celebrations. Though its government is elected and the monarchy all-but ceremonial, Barbados was colonized by the English almost 400 years ago and the switch will be profoundly symbolic.

Elizabeth is head of state in 16 countries, mostly former components of the British Empire.

"The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind," said Barbados Governor General Sandra Mason, delivering a speech on behalf of the country's Prime Minister Mia Mottley. …

Buckingham Palace said the issue was a matter for the people of Barbados. Britain's Foreign Office said the decision was one for Barbados to take.

"Barbados and the UK are united in our shared history, culture, language and much more. We have an enduring partnership and will continue to work with them along with all our valued Caribbean partners," a Foreign Office spokeswoman said.

Barbados has been thinking about it for a long time—the queen has not even visited in decades— but the post-Brexit timing has its own symbolic quality. Brexiteers' imperial fantasies are not just wrong, but are precipitating the opposite state of affairs.