Nadine WhiteRace Correspondent
Saint Kitts and Nevis has become the latest Caribbean nation to indicate it wants to part ways with the British monarchy and become a republic – just as Prince Edward and his wife Sophie end a tour of the region in celebration of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
Shawn Richards, the dual-island nation’s deputy prime minister, said the country should review its ties to the Queen as he launched a joint political bid to replace rule the island. It follows a similar decision last year by Barbados.,
“The advancement of the decades has taught us that the time has come for St Kitts and Nevis to review its monarchical system of government and to begin the dialogue to advance to a new status, just as Trinidad, Guyana, Dominica and now Barbados have done,” Mr Richards told reporters.
“All political parties, along with civil society and the youth, will have an opportunity to guide the way forward,” he added.
Mr Richards made the declaration as he and five of his cabinet colleagues lodged a motion of no confidence against the nation’s prime minister, Timothy Harris.
It comes as campaigners have called on the British government to stop sending royals overseas, and on the Commonwealth to sever ties with the monarchy.
Meanwhile the Earl and Countess of Wessex have been met with calls for slavery reparations throughout their trip to Antigua and Barbuda, St Lucia and St Vincent and the Grenadines; in the latter country, some protesters gathered, displayed banners such as “Britain your debt is outstanding”, “compensation now” and “end to colonialism”.
The pressure group Republic said Prince Edward demonstrated a “contemptible lack of interest” in issues raised by Antigua prime minister Gaston Browne during a meeting on Monday.
When Mr Browne raised Britain’s colonial legacy and the issue of reparations with Edward and Sophie, the earl responded with jokes, adding that he hadn’t been taking notes and so wouldn’t be responding in full.
The prince also jibed about how he regretted that Prince Charles got to meet disaster-struck residents of Barbuda impacted by a 2017 hurricane, and not him. The prime minister did not laugh at any of the jokes.
Graham Smith, the chief executive of Republic, said: “This arrogant and contemptible response from Edward shows again that the royals are not cut out for diplomacy. It has always been the case, but until now host nations have been too polite to put them on the spot.”
“Caribbean nations have clearly had enough of Britain’s patronising diplomacy and are using these tours to raise serious grievances. More astute, sincere and accomplished visitors would have been able to engage with those issues, not simply dismiss them.
“Edward demonstrated just why royals are no good at diplomacy, coming across as aloof, uninterested and out of his depth.
“It’s in Britain’s interests to stop sending royals abroad, and it’s time the Commonwealth cut all its ties with the British monarchy. There is nothing to be gained from drawing out this increasingly anachronistic and embarrassing relationship.”
The Wessexes were due to carry out two engagements in Saint Lucia late on Tuesday after the last-minute postponement of their trip to Grenada.
The Saint Lucia National Reparations Committee was holding a press conference later on Tuesday to state its position on the royal visit and discuss the ongoing calls for reparations from Caricom (Caribbean Community) countries.
Edward and Sophie’s trip comes after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge were criticised for some elements of their recent Caribbean tour of Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas, deemed to hark back to colonial days.
By the end of Prince William and Kate’s voyage in March, Belize and Jamaica signalled intent to become a republic. Since then, Antigua and Barbuda and now Saint Kitts and Nevis have suggested the same.