Sunday, December 05, 2021

August 28, 2021  Before November 30th this year, the island of Barbados will become the first country in nearly thirty years to remove the Queen as head of state, following Mauritius in 1992.   

This will result in Barbados using the republican system of government to govern the island.   It had already replaced the British Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice as the final court of appeal.

Starting December first, Bajans will have a president as its head of state and bring to end, a process that has been rolling since 1979.  The move will also coincide with the 55th anniversary of Barbados’ independence and was no doubt timed judiciously.  The current governor-general, Sandra Mason, has been nominated to be the island’s first president.

With Barbados out of the sovereignty of Queen Elizabeth, the number of countries left has dwindled down to 15, with only eight nations from the Caribbean.  The Caribbean islands are St. Kitts and Nevis, Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Belize, Grenada, St Lucia, and Jamaica.

Prime Minister Mottley, one of the most powerful leaders in the Caribbean, has chosen to ratify the decision by her parliament, instead of going the route of a referendum.   The latter would require a majority of Bajans to say yes, while in parliament, a two-thirds majority would be needed.  A referendum has always been the route considered by Barbados since the Forde Commission report was sent to parliament in 1998.  It was postponed twice, however; in 2003 because of the dissolution of parliament and in December 2007 because of “concerns raised by the Electoral & Boundaries Commission,” according to reports in Nation News.

But with a super-majority in parliament, Prime Minister Mottley can do anything she wants.  And that was exactly what she did on July 27th.  She told Bajans “that on November 30 this year our great nation which we love shall become a parliamentary republic.”  This follows on the heels of forming a ten-member Republican Status Transition Advisory Committee, headed by retired economist and diplomat Marion Williams.  And just like that, the Prime Minister used her impregnable parliamentary power to push through the government’s agenda without the vote of a majority of Bajans.

Interestingly, of the eight referendums held to decide the fate of the queen, only three have been successful: Ghana, South Africa and Gambia (the second one).  St. Vincent and the Grenadines were part of the losing set when their referendum was defeated by 12 percent in 2009.  Trinidad and Tobago went through parliament with a new constitution in 1976 and Guyana did the same with a constitutional amendment in 1970.

The question we now ask is, by her action, did Mia Mottley start a revolution that is destined to reduce the British Kingdom’s commonwealth of nations even further in this decade?  Jamaica’s former prime minister, Portia Simpson-Miller placed the item on the agenda in her 2012 inauguration speech to the country.  Since then, the subject has gained traction.  Both parties have talked about having a Jamaican head of state and even promised a referendum on the matter.  In July 2020, fifty-five percent of Jamaicans said the queen should go, while thirty percent wants her to remain, according to a Bill Johnson poll in the Jamaica Observer.

Earlier this month, the Bahamas government said it would replace Queen Elizabeth on its $100.00 bill with the former governor-general, Arthur D. Hanna.  Is the Bahamas sending a message?    Apart from Jamaica none of the other Caribbean islands have overtly or covertly indicated that they will change their head of state. 

Of course, we know that this could change.  St Vincent and the Grenadines tried once already.  Will they draw inspiration from Barbados and try again?

In 2013, CARICOM established the Caricom Reparations Commission to “prepare the case for reparatory justice for the region’s indigenous and African descendant communities who are the victims of Crimes against Humanity (CAH) in the forms of genocide, slavery, slave trading, and racial apartheid.”  The British Empire, headed by the Queen, benefitted significantly from the slave trade in the Caribbean.

It is also suggested that the revelation by Meghan Markle about racism at Buckingham Palace in her interview with Oprah in March, has caused many to rethink their relationship with the monarchy.  So too is Prince Harry’s wearing of a Nazi uniform to a party in 2005.

Will the action by Barbados and CARICOM, along with the current public apathy trigger motivation from the other islands?  Incidentally, all the remaining islands are members of CARICOM and the Caribbean Court of Justice.

As the saying goes, “every tub should sit on its own bottom” and that leaders of a country (ceremonial or not) should be of the people.  We look forward to the ensuing discussions and wish Barbados every bit of success on this bold move.

SXM Radio Online

Entertainment

September 7, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — Actor Michael K. Williams, who as the rogue robber of drug dealers Omar Little on “The Wire” created one of the most beloved and enduring characters in a prime era of television, died Monday. Williams was found dead Monday afternoon by family members in his Brooklyn penthouse apartment, New York City police said. He was 54. His death was being investigated as a possible drug overdose, the NYPD said. The medical examiner was investigating the cause of death. Little, a “stick-up boy” based on real figures from Baltimore, was probably the most popular character among the devoted fans of “The Wire,” the HBO show that ran from 2002 to 2008 and is re-watched constantly in streaming.

September 8, 2021 LOS ANGELES (AP) — Britney Spears’ father filed Tuesday to end the court conservatorship that has controlled the singer’s life and money for 13 years. James Spears filed his petition to terminate the conservatorship in Los Angeles Superior Court. “As Mr. Spears has said, again and again, all he wants is what is best for his daughter,” the document says. “If Ms. Spears wants to terminate the conservatorship and believes that she can handle her own life, Mr. Spears believes that she should get that chance.” Judge Brenda Penny, who oversees the case, will need to approve the move. Britney Spears attorney Matthew Rosengart said in an email the filing “represents another legal victory for Britney Spears — a massive one — as well as vindication for Ms. Spears.”

September 8, 2021  NEW YORK (AP) — With Katie Holmes and Lil’ Kim on his front row and singer Marina on the mic high above his runway, Christian Siriano helped kicked off New York Fashion Week’s first big pandemic round of in-person shows Tuesday with a flurry of neon and lace-inspired in part by all the Italian women in his life. From ornate Gotham Hall, beneath a stained-glass skylight 70 feet up, Siriano’s commitment to size inclusivity was never stronger as he opened and closed the show with plus-size breakout model Precious Lee. She first walked in a stunning yellow trouser suit with wide loose pants and an asymmetrical jacket, a matching crossover bralette underneath.

September 7, 2021  VENICE, Italy (AP) — Paul Schrader knows he has a limited number of films left, so whatever he does from here on out is going to be for himself. At 75 years old, the writer of “Taxi Driver” and “Raging Bull” and director of “American Gigolo” and “Mishima” was even somewhat prepared to call it a day after his 2018 film “First Reformed,” for which he got his first Oscar nomination. He didn’t want to. He just knew it might be the reality. “I thought I would go back to this character again for about the fifth time,” Schrader said in a recent interview. By “this character” he means “the man in the room.” It’s Travis Bickle. It’s John LeTour. It’s Julian Kay. And it’s a formula he’s been working with for 45 years.

Business News

September 8, 2021  -Stocks were mostly lower in Asia on Wednesday after a lackluster session on Wall Street, where weak jobs data and pandemic concerns weighed on sentiment. Shares rose in Tokyo after economic growth for the April-June quarter was revised upward to an annualized 1.9% from an earlier estimate of 1.3%. “Any feel-good factor was ignored, though, given the climb was less than half of the 4.20% fall in Q1,” Jeffrey Halley of Oanda said in a commentary. “Japan will be lucky to break even this year as the current Covid-19 wave will almost certainly have weighed on domestic consumption,” he said.

September 8, 2021 NEW YORK (AP) — There will be something missing at two Whole Foods stores opening next year: the rows of cashiers. Amazon, which owns the grocery chain, said Wednesday that it will bring its cashier-less technology to two Whole Foods stores for the first time, letting shoppers grab what they need and leave without having to open their wallets. Cameras and sensors track what’s taken off shelves. Items are charged to an Amazon account after customers leave the store with them. But there will be an option for those who want to shop the old-fashioned way: Self-checkout lanes will be available that take cash, gift cards and other types of payment. Amazon first unveiled the cashier-less technology in 2018 at an Amazon Go convenience store and has expanded it to larger Amazon supermarkets. But it will be the first time it has appeared at Whole Foods, a chain of more than 500 grocery stores Amazon bought four years ago.

September 8, 2021  BEIJING (AP) — An avalanche of changes launched by China’s ruling Communist Party has jolted everyone from tech billionaires to school kids. Behind them: President Xi Jinping’s vision of making a more powerful, prosperous country by reviving revolutionary ideals, with more economic equality and tighter party control over society and entrepreneurs. Since taking power in 2012, Xi has called for the party to return to its “original mission” as China’s economic, social and cultural leader and carry out the “ rejuvenation of the great Chinese nation.” The party has spent the decade since then silencing dissent and tightening political control. Now, after 40 years of growth that transformed China into the world’s factory but left a gulf between a wealthy elite and the poor majority, the party is promising to spread prosperity more evenly and is pressing private companies to pay for social welfare and back Beijing’s ambition to become a global technology competitor.

Fashion News

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