The Caribbean country’s Prime Minister told British media on September 10 that Antigua and Barbuda intend to hold a vote on becoming a republic within the next three years. If successful, this move could result in King Charles III losing his position as Head of State.
Shortly after a local ceremony recognized Charles III as the Nation’s King in the wake of Queen Elizabeth II’s passing, Prime Minister Gaston Browne told ITV News, “This is a matter that has to go to a referendum…within the next, probably three years.”
One of 14 Commonwealth nations who share the UK monarch as their Head of State is the tiny Caribbean Island republic, which broke away from Britain in 1981.
Brown emphasised that a referendum was “not an act of hostility” and would not result in Commonwealth membership being revoked but described becoming a republic as “the next step to complete the circle of independence to ensure we are truly a sovereign nation.”
The Prime Minister of Antigua did not respond right away when contacted for comment, and Reuters was unable to independently confirm the idea.
According to government statistics, there are less than 100,000 people living in the country.
Browne’s promise comes amid a burgeoning republican movement in the Caribbean, where Barbados last year voted to abolish the British monarchy and Jamaica’s ruling party has hinted that it may follow.
However, Browne, who is running for re-election next year, claimed he was not reacting to a broad call for a vote from Antiguans.
“I think most people haven’t even bothered to think about it,” he told ITV.