GNRC Lecture On Republicanism & Reparations

PR – Political leaders and many citizens of former British colonized countries, including Grenada, have been assessing their ties to the monarchy and the UK royal family, pondering on the possibility of a new constitutional arrangement such as republicanism.

King Charles recently was crowned as the new monarch of Britain, at a lavish ceremony attended by world leaders including representatives of countries of the Commonwealth. In his role, King Charles also heads the Commonwealth of Nations that includes Grenada.

The British-based Mirror publication, under the headline – “Is Charles destined to be the Last King of the Commonwealth?’’ – quoted comments from citizens of countries such as Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Grenada.

“The coronation provides an excellent opportunity for Grenada and other former colonies to cut ties, once and for all, with the British monarchy,’’ the Mirror quoted Arley Gill, chairman of the Grenada National Reparations Committee (GNRC), as saying.

“The time has come for political leaders to address the issue of republicanism,’’ he added. “Keeping Charles as the head of state renders us politically immature and justifies the need for a political overseer.’’

Since Barbados severed ties with the monarchy and became a republic in 2021, some other Caribbean leaders have expressed a desire to follow a similar path. The clearest signal has been from Jamaica.

The Jamaican government says it will hold a nationwide referendum with the goal of removing King Charles as head of state by 2025.

“We are moving on,’’ said Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness.

Jamaica’s goal, according to sports and culture minister Olivia Grange, “is to be truly independent of our colonial past and of those who enslaved us’’.

Vincentian Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has said that having a British monarch as head of state is “an absurdity” he would like to end in his lifetime.

St Vincent and the Grenadines, he said, want a president “selected by our own constitutional processes”.

Grenada’s Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell, interviewed on Sky News during his visit to Britain for the coronation of King Charles, said he has “hope’’ that the country will become a republic during his leadership; but, he ruled out any concrete constitutional change before 2024.

“It’s not an immediate priority for us,’’ Prime Minister Mitchell said. “If the public is convinced that it’s the right thing to happen, then I think we will see energy being galvanized and I think we will see us moving in that direction.”

On Tuesday, May 23, from 7 pm – 9 pm, the GNRC will present its third annual “Reparations Lecture’’ at the Grenada National Museum in St George’s.

The theme of the lecture is, “Republicanism in the Age of Reparations’’.

“Countries like Grenada must rise up from under the monarchy,’’ said Gill, an attorney at law.

The lecture’s keynote speaker is former Grenada attorney general Dr Francis Alexis. A constitutional expert, Alexis holds a PhD in public law from the University of Cambridge.