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The National (Scotland)
The National (Scotland)
Adam Robertson

Antigua and Barbuda PM says he wants to hold republic referendum 'within the next three years'

Gaston Browne (right) has said he wants to call a republic referendum "within the next three years"

THE Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda has said he will call for a referendum on the country becoming a republic within three years following the Queen’s death. 

The Caribbean country is one of 14 nations to retain the British monarch as their head of state, with Prime Minister Gaston Browne signing a document confirming the status of King Charles III.

The new King was formally proclaimed at the Accession Council Ceremony on Saturday. 

Moments after confirming Charles’s status, Browne said he would push for a republic referendum after indicating such a move earlier this year during a visit from Prince Edward and his wife, Sophie.

Browne told ITV: “This is not an act of hostility or any difference between Antigua and Barbuda and the monarch, but it is the final step to complete that circle of independence, to ensure that we are truly a sovereign nation. 

“I’d say probably within the next three years,” he added when asked for a timeframe. 

In April, Browne called on the Wessexes to use their “diplomatic influence” to achieve “reparatory justice” and outlined his country’s wish to “one day become a republic”. 

Edward was criticised as “arrogant” for joking that he had not been taking notes during Browne’s comments. 

The Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Kate, were accused of harking back to colonial days in Jamaica in March as they shook hands with crowds behind a wire mesh fence and rode in the back of a Land Rover. 

Demonstrators accused them of benefiting from the “blood, tears and sweat” of slaves.

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness suggested to William and Kate that his country may be the next to become a republic, while a minister from Belize said afterwards that perhaps it was time to “take the next step in truly owning our independence”. 

Browne told ITV on Saturday his country would remain a committed member of the Commonwealth, even if it removes the monarch via referendum. 

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