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Queen Elizabeth II is still head of state in 15 countries, Belize included

Posted: Saturday, March 26, 2022. 3:14 pm CST.

By Rubén Morales Iglesias:

Queen Elizabeth II is head of state in 15 countries, including the United Kingdom, but with Jamaica ‘moving on’, that number is soon going down to 14.

Just last November the number dropped to 15 when Barbados became a republic.

For now, those countries include Canada and Australia as the two larger countries. The other states are Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Saint Lucia, Solomon Islands, St Kitts and Nevis, St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Tuvalu.

But the United Kingdom will not hold grudges, Prince William said Friday during a speech in The Bahamas, the final leg of the three-country tour that previously took him and his wife Kate Middleton, the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, to Belize and Jamaica. Prince William said relationships change but the United Kingdom and such countries would remain friends.

“With Jamaica celebrating 60 years of independence this year, and Belize celebrating 40 years of independence last year, I want to say this: We support with pride and respect your decisions about your future. Relationships evolve. Friendship endures,” said Prince William.

Some of the countries that removed the Queen as head of state after gaining independence include Guyana (1970), Trinidad and Tobago (1976), Dominica (1978), and Mauritius (1992).

The Queen as head of state is a ceremonial position as she holds no real political power. The Commonwealth countries have their own laws and elect their own officials and carry on their day-to-day administration without consulting the Queen though her representative carries out ceremonial day to day duties which include giving royal assent to legislation and appointing of ministers and senators. That, however, is just rubber stamping what the government of the day already decided which is not much different than the ceremonial role the Queen and the Royal Family have in the United Kingdom.

The Queen is also the head of state in a number of overseas territories belonging to the UK, Australia and New Zealand, but which are not in the Commonwealth. These include Gibraltar, the Falkland Islands, Bermuda, and the Cayman Islands.

And for all you know, Belize could soon be joining Barbados and Jamaica.

On Thursday, Minister of the Public Service, Constitutional and Political Reform Henry Charles Usher brought up the matter during the Budget Debate in the House of Representatives, a couple of days after the Cambridges had left.

“Madame Speaker, the decolonization process is enveloping the Caribbean region,” Usher said. “Perhaps it is time for Belize to take the next step in truly owning our independence. But it is a matter that the people of Belize must decide on.”

If that were to happen, the number of countries that consider the Queen as their sovereign would drop to 13.

 

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