Get all your news in one place.
100’s of premium titles.
One app.
Start reading
Daily Mirror
Daily Mirror
Ryan Merrifield

Antigua and Barbuda PM wants republic referendum 'within three years' after Queen's death

Antigua and Barbuda plans to hold a referendum on becoming a republic within the next three years, the Caribbean nation's prime minister told British media in the wake of the Queen's death on Saturday, a move that could see King Charles III removed as its head of state.

Gaston Browne signed a document to confirm King Charles III's accession to the throne on Saturday but minutes later said he would push for the Commonwealth nation to cut ties within three years.

He had previously spoken of the possible move for the sovereign island country, which lies between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, during a visit from the Earl and Countess of Wessex in April.

Neighbour Barbados became a republic in November last year.

At the time, Charles acknowledged the "appalling atrocity of slavery" the Caribbean island suffered.

For the latest updates as the world mourns the Queen and King Charles III's reign begins, follow our live blog.

King Charles speaks with Gaston Browne during a global warming meeting (PA)

Barbadian President Dame Sandra Mason was among the Caribbean leaders who paid tribute to the Queen, who died suddenly on Thursday.

She called the Queen a "treasured" figure and added she will "always hold a place in our hearts".

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

Asked about the timeframe, he said: "I'd say probably within the next three years."

Mr Browne told ITV it is "not an act of hostility" (ITV)

He added that the nation would remain a member of the Commonwealth even as a republic.

Antigua and Barbuda is one of 14 nations - besides the UK - to retain the British monarch as head of state.

The nation has a population of less than 100,000, according to official data.

Mr Browne urged the Wessexes earlier this year to use their "diplomatic influence" to achieve "reparatory justice" for slavery.

William and Kate ride in a Land Rover that once carried the Queen and Prince Philip when they visited Jamaica in 1953 (Ian Vogler / Daily Mirror)

Prince Edward was labelled "arrogant" after making light of the situation by joking he was taking notes.

In March, the new Prince and Princess of Wales, William and Kate, were criticised for their 'tone deaf' tour of the Caribbean, including shaking hands with crowds from behind a mesh fence and riding around in an open top Land Rover in Jamaica.

Demonstrators suggested such images harked by the colonial times and urged them to pay reparations due to the British economy being "built on the backs" of Bahamians.

Jamaica PM Andrew Holness told the Waleses his country might be the next to become a republic.

A minister from Belize also said it was perhaps time to "take the next step" in "owning our independence".

Despite the growing republican push across the region, Mr Browne - who is up for re-election next year - said he was not responding to a widespread push from Antiguans to hold a vote.

"I think most people haven't even bothered to think about it," he said.

* This weekend, the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror celebrate the life of Her Majesty the Queen with a commemorative special filled with all the key moments from Britain’s longest reigning monarch.

Be sure to pick up your copy of the Daily Mirror and Sunday Mirror to get both pullouts.

Sign up to read this article
Read news from 100’s of titles, curated specifically for you.
Already a member? Sign in here
Related Stories
Top stories on inkl right now
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Already a member? Sign in here
Our Picks
Fourteen days free
Download the app
One app. One membership.
100+ trusted global sources.