No Referendum, no Republic!

Submitted by Grenville Phillips, Leader of Solutions Barbados

I listened to our Prime Minister give an interview on ABC Australia, part of which was carried on CBC-TV news on 17 Sep 2020.  In it, the Prime Minister explained that Barbadians will not be allowed a referendum, to decide on whether they support Barbados becoming a Republic.

Our Prime Minister must know that she cannot do that.  Our Attorney General, all the lawyers in the BLP and DLP, our Governor General, and all our judges should know that she cannot do that.  Yet, she noted that she will follow NIKE and “just do it”.

Our Prime Minister is not a dictator, so she must have a proverbial ‘Ace’ up her sleeve.  In the interview, she revealed it.  She justified her approach by explaining her belief that Barbadians elected her to do it.  Let me quote her.

“We certainly campaigned on it in the manifesto, that while we committed to referendum on other issues, we did not on this one, and we made it clear that this is where we believe the country must go.”


As the leader of the third largest political party in Barbados, and on behalf of the thousands of Barbadians who voted for Solutions Barbados in the last General Election, I had to investigate this claim.  Because either I was suffering from some sort of memory loss and had to resign, or our Prime Minister inadvertently misspoke.

I reread the BLP’s 2018 Manifesto.  There was no mention of any plan to make us a Republic.  On the matter of referenda, page 45 states:

“Introducing National Dialogues, National Referenda and consulting with Barbadians on major national issues, such as the decriminalisation of recreational marijuana.”

Is changing our system of government to a Republic, not more of a major national issue than decriminalising recreational marijuana?

I then read the BLP’s 2016 Covenant of Hope.  Again, there was no plan to make us a Republic.  On the mater of referenda, Page 22 states:

“We support the use of People’s Initiatives, as well as the mechanism of Referenda, to ensure that our citizens may influence the work of our Parliament and our Executive. This permits our people, and not only Parliamentarians, to have an appropriate role in decision-making on fundamental issues affecting the stability and cohesion of our nation. This must always follow an intensive public education programme.”

If fundamentally changing our system of government to a Republic, does not qualify as a fundamental issue affecting the stability and cohesion of our nation, then what does?


So, where could our Prime Minister have gotten the idea, that a Republic plan was in their campaign manifesto?  I decided to investigate.  I read the BLP’s 2013 Manifesto, but there is no mention of a Republic plan.  So, I read the BLP’s 2008 Manifesto, and there it was, on page 77:

“Update the Constitution Review Commission recommendations on replacing the Crown with a Barbadian President and proceed to consult the public fully by way of a referendum”

Clearly the BLP’s stated intent was to measure the public’s support, of our politicians’ desire for a Barbadian Republic, by a national referendum.  So, what happened?’

One possible explanation is that a plan to make Barbados a republic without a national referendum, was in an early draft of the BLP’s 2018 Manifesto.  Since the BLP cannot force Barbados to become a republic, that plan was abandoned.  Whatever the explanation, the BLP does not have a mandate to make us a Republic.

Without a mandate from the people to make us a Republic, the BLP needs to go back to the drawing board.  To become a Republic, there must be support from both the Government and the Public.  The public’s support is normally measured by a national referendum.  No referendum, no republic.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados. He can be reached at


  • NorthernObserverSeptember 21, 2020 9:45 AM

    Where is your buddy @plt. Is he a new Czar?


    Probably drinking his Horlicks.

    Seriously though, it is natural for any human to rebel.

    At the age when Horlicks, Milo, Ovaltine or Fry’s Cocoa was forced down children’s throats and they were made to believe it was delicious, as humans their natural reaction was to rebel.

    They quickly became inculcated with the carrot and stick approach and resentment seethed in many.

    My siblings and I were each given a table spoon of shark oil regularly and hated it.

    Our mother convinced us it tasted wonderful and we dutifully took it … and each of us enjoyed it … but it tasted awful.

    She made it an outing, we went to the Christ Church Dispensary and got the Shark Oil.

    I am just saying that rebellious thoughts festered but no child at that age would express them.

    The result is in many cases is a maladjusted adult who will rebel at any excuse just because they were made to drink Horlicks or Milo or Ovaltine or Fry’s.

    Fortunately, that was not the habit of household in which I grew up.


  • BTW

    Did you know Fry’s Cocoa was a the result of a Quaker family?


  • DonnaSeptember 21, 2020 10:37 AM

    Here we go again! Last week you called him “vile”. Now today you are his ally against me.


    Such fragility.


  • Must be the Horlicks.


  • Quaker John

    If you are still alive, here is a little tale. I used to play cricket in a Quaker Village, Jordan’s in Buckinghamshire, were pubs and restaurants were not allowed. But around the border there were lots of pubs and restaurants. After the game, everyone rushed for the border.
    Be careful out there. There are some bitter, twisted people out there.


  • And you and John are the worst of them.


  • John the Racist,

    Not fragile at all! Just pointing out his inconsistency. He is a prime example of the Trump voting type. He’ll say you are dishonest and vile but with link up with you over some stupid slight he has been told that he took the wrong way.

    But I would agree with you when you make a good point but I would never defend you against anyone. You do not value black lives. I am black and so is my son.


  • Here is a famous Fry.

    Born a Gurney (Barclays Bank) she was instrumental in prison reform in England.

    There is something very different about the individuals who became Quakers.


  • And there we have it. Women with muscular arguments forcing it down John’s throat, while he is glad that it is not Horlicks. Hal defends his honour.

    Twice in one day too, though Hal advises us to stay away from the border, could be twisted people trying to take away our beer and force Horlicks on us.

    Nay I say, unless you are born Quaker. They remain firm and resolute, moreso in the face of a woman with a muscular argument.


  • Famous Frys… that rings a bell. Enid Blyton, right?

    Was she Quaker too?


  • @ Crusoe

    Hal defends his honour? Whose honour?


  • Hal AustinSeptember 21, 2020 12:16 PM

    Quaker John

    If you are still alive, here is a little tale. I used to play cricket in a Quaker Village, Jordan’s in Buckinghamshire, were pubs and restaurants were not allowed. But around the border there were lots of pubs and restaurants. After the game, everyone rushed for the border.


    You will find Jordan families from Buckinghamshire in Barbados in the 17th century!!


    Possibly Jordan’s in St. George gets its name from a family from the village in which you played cricket.

    Edward Jordan in the late 1700’s was the father of Sarah Ann Gill!!

    Good chance Sarah Ann Gill is a descendant of a Jordan family from Buckinghamshire.


  • Crusoe,
    I have been called things on BU that nobody has ever called me to my face. “Bitter and twisted” have now been added. I challenge anyone to show me a post that can construed as bitter or twisted.


  • @Hal Austin September 21, 2020 12:16 PM “Quaker John. If you are still alive?”

    What do you mean asking John if he is still alive? He’ll probably be alive wwh he is 95

    Nobody has ever troubled John, except perhaps his own kinsMEN.

    Nobody has


  • Relax.

    You can learn some techniques from this guy even if you don’t like him.


  • The paradoxical republic
    by Peter Laurie

    Okay, everybody, take a deep breath.
    Yes, we are going to become a republic. I know we’re a conservative people and we don’t like change, especially if we think the change unnecessary. But it’s not the end of the world, it’s simply one more phase in our political and constitutional development since Independence.
    And let me tell you a dirty little secret. We’re already a republic! Yes. In fact, the term ‘republic’, which had some meaning in the 18th and 19th century as a form of government opposed to absolute monarchy, is meaningless today.
    A republic at that time meant basically a form of constitutional government in which the power of governing resided in the elected representatives of those citizens who had voting rights (remember that back then only rich white males had a say in who should govern them. Things have changed since then).
    The United Kingdom is, in fact, a republic. The only difference is that, instead of having a democratically chosen ceremonial head of state, it has a hereditary ceremonial head of state. Moreover, that hereditary head of state — the monarch Queen Elizabeth II — has no say in who will succeed her.
    The succession is determined by the British Parliament.Indeed, they changed the rules a few years ago to remove the blatant discrimination against women in the order of succession.
    Previously, the first-born male child was next in succession.Now if a girl is the first-born child, she becomes next in succession.
    Unfortunately, they have not removed the religious discrimination: only an Anglican can become the head of state since the monarch is also head of the Church of England.
    So, if Barbados is already a republic, what is all the fuss about? Well, instead of depending on the British Parliament and the hereditary monarchy of Britain to decide who our head of state will be, we, or, more accurately, our elected representatives, will choose our own Barbadian ceremonial head of state.
    The selection procedure is yet to be determined but I favour the recommendation made in the 1998 Constitution Review Commission, chaired by Sir Henry Forde: appointment by two-thirds of the Parliament.
    So, what are the objections to the change? Some argue that having the English monarch as our Head of State provides a form of symbolic stability which is attractive both to tourists and investors.
    I doubt this is so. Far more important would be our legendary political stability and reputation for good governance, the environmental beauty of our island, welcoming social conditions, the warmth and hospitality of Bajans, and a business-friendly (well, soon to be) culture.
    Another pragmatic argument is if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. There is no evidence, many argue, that having the Queen of England as our head of state in any way deprives us of any rights or freedoms, and, indeed, most Bajans have great love and respect for the present queen who has been, indeed, a gem of a person.
    But then, since we have no say right now on who our head of state is, it is possible that a future monarch of England might be quite unlike Queen Elizabeth and be a horrific embarrassment and royal pain in the ass.
    We could do nothing about that. Let us go further: what indeed would happen if the English decide to have as head of state someone appointed by the people through their parliamentary representatives, rather than someone who rules purely by family connections in pursuit of the archaic romantic fiction of royal blood? Then there seems to be strong objections by some to the name “republic”. They argue that to re-designate Barbados as the Republic of Barbados would entail all kinds of attendant changes that would be costly. Surely, we have better things to spend our money on? But of course, that is not necessarily so.
    We could simply retain the name of “Barbados”, which I strongly recommend.
    Others associate the term “republic” with chronic political instability as in “banana republic”. The previous observation applies here as well.
    To sum up, there are in fact no compelling objections to appointing our own Barbadian head of state. It is purely a question of political and cultural inertia that stops us recognising that the default position is one in which we have our own head of state, rather than one in which we cling desperately to the apron strings of the colonial power like petulant children who refuse to grow up.
    I recognise, of course, that conservatism runs deep in our cultural tradition (here’s an interesting anthropological thesis)
    and applies not just to our political system but to social issues such as flogging children, flagellating criminals with the cat-o-nine tails, capital punishment, same-sex relationships, the common entrance exam, legalisation of marijuana, and other such matters in which we Bajans think that the ungodly hordes of the world out there are trying to impose their politically correct changes on the traditional values of our community.
    Fortunately, the saving grace of Barbados is that we are both highly hypocritical and highly tolerant, so we usually do not practise what we preach, and we turn a blind eye to people who transgress what we preach, once we do not discuss these matters openly or claim any rights associated with them.
    Let me end by quoting two knowledgeable outsiders on the marvellous paradox that is Barbados.
    Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves in a lecture entitled The Idea of Barbados a few years ago: “Barbados is at once the most conservative and the most progressive society in the Caribbean, bar none!”
    Anthony P. Maingot, a Trinidadian professor of sociology in a recent book on the Caribbean, devotes an entire chapter to Barbados. I quote one sentence from it: “Of all the countries of the Greater Caribbean, Barbados has most successfully combined a deep respect for tradition with a constant attempt to modernise.”
    Long live the paradoxical republic!
    Peter Laurie is a retired career diplomat and former ambassador of Barbados to the United States.

    Source: Barbados Today


  • Dotun Adebayo, writing in thew Voice, has questioned why Barbados is in a rush to be a Republic. He argues that at age 94, there would be nothing wrong with waiting a few more years before making a tidy change.


  • Grenville now published a short opinion piece on facebook.

    Nonsense about the Queen being managing the national insurance policy. Then referring the Grenada intervention and that it would not have been possible without the GG.

    Utter nonsense. He left out, by error or otherwise, that it was mainly US forces who led the intervention, not British.

    Secondly, that a control President, aka the Trinidad model, could do the same.

    For an educated and professional man to be publishing that ish, is perplexing.

    He should do better.


  • How many times must Grenville show you that he is a fool????

    Do you wish to change your advice to Guy Hewitt now? It was your advice, wasn’t it?


  • The Queen.

    When we were a colony, we had no national anthem. We sang the British national anthem, and bowed before the Queen and her representatives. When we became independent in 1966, we sang our own national anthem, and bowed to only God.

    The Queen manages our international insurance policy. This policy is activated only if we elect a despot who starts to harm us, or if we are invaded by a foreign power. To avoid our politicians crying ‘wolf’ over minor issues, the Queen has a representative in Barbados, to decide when to activate this policy.


    Grenada has similar international insurance. When activists took over the government of Grenada in 1979, and managed the country for about 4 years, the Governor General did not intervene. But when they killed 19 Grenadians on 19 October 1983, the Governor General activated the policy. Help arrived in less than one week.

    When politicians and their activists start oppressing an uninsured public, no one is under any obligation to help them. Today, there are many uninsured people suffering under despots, and desperate for help. Unless a country thinks that it is their national interest to help, they tend not to.

    The United Nations Security Council may draft a useless resolution, asking the despot to stop the killings. But they rarely stop, so the people continue to hope in vain. That is the world in which we live.

    In the Republic of Rwanda in 1994, CARICOM, Europe, Asia, America, and the United Nations just watched, as approximately 80,000 Rwandans were mercilessly tortured and murdered every day, for 100 days. After 800,000 of them had been killed, everyone simply said ‘sorry’. Such is the lot of the uninsured.


    Our activists are starting to target our youth, who are too inexperienced to appreciate the value of international insurance. They are being deceived that such insurance is colonial oppression and a waste of money. They do not understand that we have the privilege of owning the most valuable insurance policy on this planet, for which we pay a pittance.

    It seems that Solutions Barbados stands alone in trying to pull Barbados back from the brink of insanity. We would be certifiably lunatic to give up our international insurance, just to please our politicians and activists – against whom we are insured.

    [Note: We write about 3 press releases each week. If you are not getting them, then please send us your e-mail and/or WhatsApp number, and we will include you on our distribution list.]

    Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer, and the President of Solutions Barbados offering to represent St George North. He can be reached at


  • Donna,

    Mea Culpa. I keep hoping that he will come round. But then he writes something like this.


  • @Crusoe
    You are extremely patient.
    The nelson fables sent me overboard.

    His telling/interpretation of
    history is seriously flawed.


  • Crusoe,

    You still hope after he opined that Donald Trump has done more for African-Americans than any other recent president?????????

    Come on! The man is a fool! If he fell for the Trump con he is a lost cause.


  • @ TLSN

    Welcome back.


  • First, the supreme authority in any organisation – whether club, association, social gathering or country – is NOT the elected leader but its members… the people. For Queen Mia to unilaterally declare that the country is to be changed from one status to another is pellucidly illegal and MUST be challenged.

    Second, before Queen Mia makes a single step in the direction of Republicanism, she should first make major changes to the stifling bureaucracy and legal system which strangles virtually all activities in Barbados, from building a home to renewing a drivers licence to sending $30 to a family member overseas.

    Third, when I hear about politricks these days I FIRST ask myself “who stands to profit?”. The revelation of the Chinese connection explains all of the corruption of our latest crop of imperfect and self-centered leaders. Queen Mia will no doubt become the multi-millionaire Queen Mia I of Barbados, President Mottley, and El Dictatoria of all she surveys. But I doubt she will donate a penny of her offshore baksheesh towards anything, such as Rihanna has done.


  • Grenville will get even fewer votes this time than he got in 2018.


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