New Republic, ‘Soulless’ Process

I did not think that I would have to write again about Barbados’ move to a republic. It has been a dud of a process and the selection of the President has been anticlimactic.

A noted academic described the process as “soulless”.  I think that has resonated with many Barbadians at home and abroad, even those of us who wanted the Queen removed as our head of state. Though, we know in our governance systems, it is a Prime Minister that “runs things.”

If former Prime Minister Freundel Stuart had approached Barbados’ transition to republic with no genuine public consultation on the form of republic Barbados was to become, former Opposition Leader Mia Mottley, based on the track record, would have likely played high politics with marches, walk-outs of Parliament and taking to the streets. As I have said in this column before, what is good for one is good for the other.

I want a republic as most Barbadians, but no one would ever call the current republican process, properly executed. In other ways it has been undignified and exclusionary.

The very way the independence constitution was created as an elite, hierarchal exercise for the big-ups, this move to a republic was done in a similar if not worse fashion.

At least at the time of Independence there was spirited debate on all sides of the argument throughout the country and in Parliament. This moment has not been met with that same level of debate or engagement.

We are told by some commentators that we are to beat the drums and dance in the streets to celebrate the fall of Babylon. How has Babylon fallen when Barbadians were intentionally and directly left out the process for deciding the type of republic Barbados has become.

How do some commentators live in their glorious contradictions? Celebrate removing the Queen as head of State and the oaths of allegiance to the Queen but cannot respond to the fact that we will have a new republic with an old independence constitution.

The independence constitution that for example, contains a savings law clause to ‘save’ existing colonial laws, does not contain an explicit right to privacy and contains a preamble that tells the story of the oppressor while excluding the story of slavery and the people whose backs, literally and figuratively, on which Barbados was built.

Whenever the issue is raised, no one can adequately respond, because there is none but to recognise the contradiction. Maybe for these commentators, it is like asking a builder to repair your house. You come home and it is nicely painted on the outside and you feel very good until you walk through the door to realise the termites and rodents still infest the walls, but it is all too late.

You paid the money, and the builder is nowhere to be found, but at least you can keep pretending to your neighbours that everything is well, as you swat the termites and rodents from inside your home.

The saddest part of this whole republican affair is that we have been robbed of what should have been ours. Our moment has been hijacked by a political class unable to understand the shortcomings of its approach. We have simply swapped one ceremonial head of state for another ceremonial head of state as selected by the political class.

This could have been a moment to innovate and show bold new thinking on our governance. The status quo, essentially remains the same, though the Queen was removed.

I guess when you broadcast to the world a deadline, but do not engage with your own people, you are driven by those external forces and timelines. Sounds, oddly colonial.

It would have taken tremendous resolve to pause and understand the process of transitioning Barbados to a republic needed to genuinely include the People as the constituent element of the constitution of Barbados.

Ronnie Yearwood is a lecturer in law, lawyer and social commentator. Email:

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220 thoughts on “New Republic, ‘Soulless’ Process

  1. “Native” + disparing remarks relating to a childlike lack of intelligence and sophistication = connotations other than the strict meaning of the word.

    Words must be interpreted within the context of those around them. Often, that is what gives them meaning beyond strict dictionary definitions.

    All WRITERS know that.

    Try it with the “n” word! Surround it with rap lyrics and it means one thing. Surround it with white supremacist’s tropes and it means something else.

    Put the word “house” in front of it and..
    well I don’t need to tell you about that. That can make your “most frequently used” list!

  2. I have lived for almost sixty years without hatred in my heart.

    A little bit is unlikely to kill me now, especially when I forget about it as soon as I log out from BU.

    Not much time for watching people riding hobby horses around the nursery these days so I should be good.

  3. none of those words are NATIVE TO AFRIKANS…or black people….they are ALL COLONIZER WORDS…including what you posted…..come with something new and MAYBE ya will impress someone beside the mentally stunted like yaself…..without looking for a piece of cake to be thown at ya to massage ya nonsense..

  4. Isn’t it wonderful then that there is life outside of BU? Today is a good day to live it!

    I gone because I know you can’t go.

    Enjoy your daily shit!

  5. @David, this is risible (as the Dean would say) … I gotta laugh at my lil Bim that was once touted as 99% literate. This must be a joke!..

    “…less than ten per cent of the people polled were comfortable with their understanding of the current political system,”

    What de badword!

    “while a third indicated they had no knowledge of what republicanism was about.”


    They polled Bajans down at Matcocks Bay around midnight after the third round of Cockspur and Mount Gay!😇🙈

    Bro, you do recall a panel of school girls and boy – a representative poll of our educated youth of that day if we don’t quibble much on statistical models – back in ‘Understanding’ (CBC Programme) days who took a lawyer and senator to task on matters of the role of senate and parliament some 40 plus years ago, right!

    So how in heaven’s name then can we be at a stage now where only 10% of Bajans (a poll is a representative sample of the population, right) don’t understand how our govt Westminster style works!!!

    And after ALL these years of debating and discussing the monarchy as an anachronistic relic you mean to say that only 3 in 10 Bajans understand anything about a republican form of govt!

    Ads too after some almost 50 years plus of Guyana being a Republic form of governance and then too TnT and the big US of A where Bajans travel to in droves and so many got family there you mean that so many Bajans still don’t grasp what an executive Republican or ceremonial Republican system is all about!

    That sir is gravely disheartening … no wonder corruption is so rife bout here … too many are just absolutely indifferent and focused on material needs it seems.

    SMH. Lata.

  6. Donna November 1, 2021 7:24 AM#: “Words must be interpreted within the context of those around them. Often, that is what gives them meaning beyond strict dictionary definitions. All WRITERS know that.”

    @ Donna

    I agree. But, people often engage in ‘splitting hairs.’

    A guy, for example, says he does not use the word ‘kill,’ but, tells people he would deprive them of their lives. Whether he wants to accept it or not and despite him quoting philosophy……… the premeditated intent to kill remains foremost in his thoughts.

    Similarly, the word ‘hate’ is defined as:

    ‘Hate,’ verb …….. 1. feel intense or passionate DISLIKE for (someone): “the boys hate each other.”

    ‘Hate,’ noun …….. 1. intense or passionate DISLIKE: “feelings of hate and revenge.”

    No matter how you may want to describe or ‘window dress’ it, the ‘bottom line’ is …….. by expressing a definitive ‘DISLIKE’ for someone, you’ve essentially EXPRESSED feelings of HATE.

    And, attempting to manipulate what was written by using the words ‘dislike’ or ‘hate’ interchangeably as a noun or verb does not negate those feelings.

    But, remember,………”when someone can ‘DISLIKE’ or ‘DON’T TRUST’ an anonymous blogger WHOM THEY HAVE NEVER MET”……… and then present LIES as his/her JUSTIFICATION for doing so………..”ya know there are SERIOUS mental problems there somewhere.”

    Remain focused….. forget the hate, jealousy nonsense and the other ad hominem attacks.

    The lady has been PROVEN time and time again to be a LIAR. Her evening and morning words SELDOM AGREE. That’s the reason why she hates…… ohhh, sorry, ‘my bad,’……. DISLIKES the archives.

    Her defeat lies therein.

  7. @David, re “We have regressed maybe?”

    Fah sure or those numbers are really just hokus-pokus!


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