Monarchy of Barbados | Wikipedia audio article
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Monarchy of Barbados | Wikipedia audio article

August 25, 2019


The Monarchy of Barbados is the core of the
country’s Westminster style parliamentary democracy, being the foundation of the executive,
legislative, and judicial branches of the government. The current Barbadian monarch and head of
state, since 6 February 1952, is Queen Elizabeth II. As the sovereign, she is the personal embodiment
of the Barbadian Crown. Although the person of the sovereign is equally
shared with 15 other independent countries within the Commonwealth of Nations, each country’s
monarchy is separate and legally distinct. As a result, the current monarch is officially
titled Queen of Barbados and, in this capacity, she, her husband, and other members of the
Royal Family undertake public and private functions domestically and abroad as representatives
of the Barbadian state. However, the Queen is the only member of the
Royal Family with any constitutional role. The Queen lives predominantly in the United
Kingdom and, while several powers are the sovereign’s alone, most of the royal governmental
and ceremonial duties in Barbados are carried out by the Queen’s representative, the governor-general.Some
of the powers of the Crown are exercisable by the monarch (such as appointing governors-general)
and others by the governor-general (such as calling parliamentary elections). Further, the royal sign-manual is required
for letters patent and orders in council. But, the authority for these acts stems from
the Barbadian populace and, within the conventional stipulations of constitutional monarchy, the
sovereign’s direct participation in any of these areas of governance is limited, with
most related powers entrusted for exercise (via advice or direction to the monarch or
the viceroy) by the elected and appointed parliamentarians, the ministers of the Crown
generally drawn from amongst them, and the judges and justices of the peace. The Crown today primarily functions as a guarantor
of continuous and stable governance and a nonpartisan safeguard against the abuse of
power.The historical roots of the Barbadian monarchy date back to approximately the early
17th century, when King James VI of Scotland and I of England made the first claims to
Barbados. Monarchical governance thenceforth evolved
under a continuous succession of British sovereigns and eventually the Barbadian monarchy of today.==International and domestic aspects==The person who is the Barbadian sovereign
is equally shared with 15 other monarchies (a grouping, including Barbados, known informally
as the Commonwealth realms) in the 52-member Commonwealth of Nations, with the monarch
residing predominantly in the oldest and most populous realm, the United Kingdom, and a
viceroy—the Governor-General of Barbados—acting as the sovereign’s representative in Barbados. This arrangement emerged among the older realms
after the end of the First World War and is governed by the Statute of Westminster 1931. Since then, the pan-national Crown has had
both a shared and a separate character and the sovereign’s role as monarch of Barbados
has been, since Barbados’ independence in 1966, distinct to his or her position as monarch
of any other realm, including the United Kingdom. Only Barbadian ministers of the Crown may
advise the sovereign on matters of the Barbadian state. The monarchy thus ceased to be an exclusively
British institution and in Barbados became a Barbadian, or “domesticated”, establishment. This division is illustrated in a number of
ways: The sovereign, for example, holds a unique Barbadian title and, when she is acting
in public specifically as a representative of Barbados, she will use, where possible,
Barbadian symbols, including the country’s national flag, unique royal symbols, and the
like. The sovereign similarly only draws from Barbadian
coffers for support in the performance of her duties when in Barbados or acting as Queen
of Barbados abroad; Barbadians do not pay any money to the Queen, either towards personal
income or to support royal residences outside of Barbados. This applies equally to other members of the
Royal Family. Normally, tax dollars pay only for the costs
associated with the governor-general in the exercise of the powers of the Crown, including
travel, security, residences, offices, and ceremonies.A claim made by supporters of the
monarchy is that it “keeps the line of stability open”; the sovereign’s usual location outside
the country means legitimate executive power would be unaffected by any hostile invasion
of Barbados or other event that rendered the entire sitting government incapacitated or
unable to function. Such a situation has not arisen; however,
it may have helped if the Operation Red Dog-invasion plot, which targeted the Commonwealth of Dominica
and likely Barbados, was not halted.===Succession===By convention, succession in Barbados is deferred
to the laws of the United Kingdom; whoever is monarch of the UK is automatically also
monarch of Barbados. Succession in Britain is, for those born before
28 October 2011, by male-preference primogeniture and, for people born after 28 October 2011,
by absolute primogeniture, governed by common law, the Act of Settlement 1701, Bill of Rights
1689, and Succession to the Crown Act 2013. This legislation limits the succession to
the natural (i.e. non-adopted), legitimate descendants of Sophia, Electress of Hanover,
and stipulates that the monarch cannot be a Roman Catholic and must be in communion
with the Church of England upon ascending the throne. Though these laws still lie within the control
of the British parliament, the United Kingdom agreed, via adopting the Statute of Westminster,
not to change the rules of succession without the unanimous consent of the other realms,
unless explicitly leaving the shared monarchy relationship. This situation that applies symmetrically
in all the other realms and has been likened to a treaty among these countries. Barbados last indicated its consent to alteration
to the line of succession in 2015, when the Governor-General-in-Council brought into force
the Succession to the Throne Act, 2013, which signified the legislature’s acquiescence to
the British Succession to the Crown Bill 2013. Upon a demise of the Crown (the death or abdication
of a sovereign), the late sovereign’s heir immediately and automatically succeeds, without
any need for confirmation or further ceremony; hence arises the phrase “The King is dead. Long live the King!” Following an appropriate period of mourning,
the monarch is also crowned in the United Kingdom, though this ritual is not necessary
for a sovereign to reign; for example, Edward VIII was never crowned, yet was undoubtedly
king during his short time on the throne. All incumbent viceroys, judges, civil servants,
legislators, military officers, etc., are not affected by the death of the monarch. After an individual ascends the throne, he
or she typically continues to reign until death. Monarchs are not allowed to unilaterally abdicate;
the only monarch to abdicate, Edward VIII, did so before Barbados was independent and,
even then, only with the authorization of the governments of the United Kingdom and
the then Dominions and special Acts of Parliament in each, as well as the UK.==Personification of the state==
Today the sovereign is regarded as the personification, or legal personality, of the Barbadian state. Therefore, the state is referred to as Her
Majesty the Queen in Right of Barbados; the state is referred to as such, or simply Regina,
if a lawsuit is filed against the government. The monarch, in his or her position as sovereign,
and not as an individual, is thus the owner of all state lands (called Crown land), buildings
and equipment (called Crown held property), state-owned companies (called statutory bodies
or Crown Corporations), and the copyright for all government publications (called Crown
copyright), as well as guardianship of foster children (called Crown wards). Government staff (the Civil Service) are also
employed by the monarch, as are the governor-general, judges, members of the Barbados Defence Force,
police officers, and parliamentarians. Hence, many employees of the Crown are required
by law to recite an oath of allegiance to the monarch before taking their posts, in
reciprocation to the sovereign’s Coronation Oath, wherein he or she promises “to govern
the Peoples of… [Barbados]… according to their respective laws and customs”. The oath required by the Director of Public
Prosecutions, for example, is: “I, [name], do swear that I will well and truly serve
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Her Heirs and Successors, in the office of Director
of Public Prosecutions. So help me God”, while that for judges is:
“I, [name], do swear that I will well and truly serve Our Sovereign Lady Queen Elizabeth
II, Her Heirs and Successors, in the office of Chief Justice/Judge of the Supreme Court
and I will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of Barbados without
fear or favour, affection or ill will. so help me God.”==
Constitutional role==Barbados’ constitution gives the country a
similar parliamentary system of government to the other Commonwealth realms, wherein
the role of the monarch and governor-general is both legal and practical, but not political. The Crown is regarded as a corporation, in
which several parts share the authority of the whole, with the sovereign as the person
at the centre of the constitutional construct, meaning all powers of state are constitutionally
reposed in the monarch. The constitution requires most of the Queen’s
domestic duties to be performed by the governor-general, appointed by the monarch on the advice of
the Prime Minister of Barbados.All institutions of government are said to act under the sovereign’s
authority; the vast powers that belong to the Crown are collectively known as the Royal
Prerogative. Parliamentary approval is not required for
the exercise of the Royal Prerogative; moreover, the consent of the Crown must be obtained
before either of the houses of parliament may even debate a bill affecting the sovereign’s
prerogatives or interests. While the Royal Prerogative is extensive,
it is not unlimited; for example, the monarch does not have the prerogative to impose and
collect new taxes—such an action requires the authorization of an Act of Parliament. The government of Barbados is also thus formally
referred to as Her Majesty’s Government. Further, the constitution instructs that any
change to the position of the monarch, or the monarch’s representative in Barbados,
requires the consent of two-thirds of the all the members of each house of parliament.===Executive (Queen-in-Council)===
One of the main duties of the Crown is to appoint a prime minister, who thereafter heads
the Cabinet and advises the monarch or governor-general on how to execute their executive powers over
all aspects of government operations and foreign affairs. Though the monarch’s power is still a part
of the executive process—the operation of the Cabinet is technically known as the Queen-in-Council
(or Governor-in-Council)—the advice tendered is typically binding; the requirement of the
governor-general to follow ministerial (either generally or specifically the prime minister’s)
advice is constitutionally enshrined in Barbados, unlike in other Commonwealth realms, where
it is a matter of convention.. Since the death of Queen Anne in 1714, the
last monarch to head the British Cabinet, the monarch reigns but does not rule. This means that the monarch’s, and thereby
the viceroy’s, role is almost entirely symbolic and cultural, acting as a symbol of the legal
authority under which all governments and agencies operate, while the Cabinet directs
the use of the Royal Prerogative, which includes the privilege to declare war, maintain the
Queen’s peace, and direct the actions of the Barbados Defence Force, as well as to summon
and prorogue parliament and call elections. However, it is important to note that the
Royal Prerogative belongs to the Crown and not to any of the ministers, though it may
sometimes appear that way, and the constitution allows the governor-general to unilaterally
use these powers in relation to the dismissal of a prime minister, dissolution of parliament,
and removal of a judge in exceptional, constitutional crisis situations. There are also a few duties which must be
specifically performed by, or bills that require assent by, the Queen. These include appointing the governor-general,
the creation of Barbadian honours, and the approval of any change in her Barbadian title. The governor-general, to maintain the stability
of government, must appoint as prime minister the individual most likely to maintain the
support of the House of Assembly; usually this is the leader of the political party
with a majority in that house, but also, when no party or coalition holds a majority (referred
to as a minority government situation), or other scenarios in which the governor-general’s
judgement about the most suitable candidate for prime minister has to be brought into
play. The governor-general must additionally appoint
to Cabinet, at the direction of the prime minister, at least five other ministers of
the Crown. All ministers are accountable to the democratically
elected House of Assembly and, through it, to the people. The Queen is informed by her viceroy of the
acceptance of the resignation of a prime minister and the swearing-in of a new prime minister
and other members of the ministry, she remains fully briefed through regular communications
from her Barbadian ministers, and she holds audience with them where possible. Members of various executive agencies and
other officials are appointed by the Crown. The commissioning of privy councillors, senators,
the Speaker of the Senate, and Supreme Court justices also falls under the Royal Prerogative. Public inquiries are also commissioned by
the Crown through a Royal Warrant and are called Royal Commissions.The Royal Prerogative
further extends to foreign affairs: the governor-general ratifies treaties, alliances, and international
agreements. As with other uses of the Royal Prerogative,
no parliamentary approval is required. However, a treaty cannot alter the domestic
laws of Barbados; an Act of Parliament is necessary in such cases. The governor-general, on behalf of the Queen,
also accredits Barbadian High Commissioners and ambassadors and receives diplomats from
foreign states. In addition, the issuance of passports falls
under the Royal Prerogative and, as such, all Barbadian passports are issued in the
monarch’s name.===Parliament (Queen-in-Parliament)===The sovereign, along with the Senate and the
House of Assembly, is one of the three components of parliament, called the Queen-in-Parliament. The authority of the Crown therein is embodied
in the mace, which bears a crown at its apex; unlike other realms, however, the Barbados
parliament only has a mace for the lower house. The monarch does not, however, participate
in the legislative process; the viceroy does, though only in the granting of Royal Assent. Further, the constitution outlines that the
governor-general alone is responsible for appointing senators. As in some other countries, such as Canada,
the viceroy must make some senatorial appointments on the advice of the prime minister. However, uniquely, the constitution stipulates
that two senators are to be appointed in consultation with the leader of the opposition and seven
appointed by the governor-general acting at his own discretion. The viceroy additionally summons, prorogues,
and dissolves parliament; after the latter, the writs for a general election are usually
dropped by the governor-general at Government House. The new parliamentary session is marked by
the State Opening of Parliament, during which either the monarch or the governor-general
reads the Speech from the Throne. As the monarch and viceroy cannot enter the
House of Assembly, this, as well as the bestowing of Royal Assent, takes place in the Senate
chamber; Members of Parliament are summoned to these ceremonies from the Commons by the
Crown’s messenger, the Usher of the Black Rod, after he knocks on the doors of the lower
house that have been slammed closed on him, to symbolise the barring of the monarch from
the assembly.All laws in Barbados are enacted only with the viceroy’s granting of Royal
Assent in the monarch’s name. Thus, all bills begin with the phrase “Her
Majesty, by virtue and in exercise of the powers vested in Her by section 5 of the Barbados
Independence Act 1966 and of all other powers enabling Her in that behalf, is pleased, by
and with the advice of Her Privy Council, to order, and it is hereby ordered, as follows…”===
Courts (Queen-on-the-Bench)===The
sovereign is deemed the fount of justice, and is responsible for rendering justice for
all subjects, known in this role as the Queen on the Bench. However, he or she does not personally rule
in judicial cases; instead, judicial functions are performed in his or her name. Hence, the common law holds that the sovereign
“can do no wrong”; the monarch cannot be prosecuted in his or her own courts for criminal offences. Civil lawsuits against the Crown in its public
capacity (that is, lawsuits against the government) are permitted; however, lawsuits against the
monarch personally are not cognizable. In international cases, as a sovereign and
under established principles of international law, the Queen of Barbados is not subject
to suit in foreign courts without her express consent. The sovereign, and by extension the governor-general,
also exercises the prerogative of mercy, and may pardon offences against the Crown, either
before, during, or after a trial. In addition, the monarch also serves as a
symbol of the legitimacy of courts of justice and of their judicial authority. An image of the Queen or the Arms of Her Majesty
in Right of Barbados is always displayed in Barbadian courtrooms. Judges also have a pair of white gloves from
the Queen on display on the edge of the bench, which marks the authority of the court, similar
to the ceremonial mace of parliament.==Cultural role==From the beginning of Queen Elizabeth II’s
reign onwards, royal symbols in Barbados were altered to make them distinctly Barbadian
or new ones created, such as the Royal Arms of Barbados (presented on 14 February 1966
by the Queen to then President of the Senate Sir Grey Massiah) and the Queen’s Royal Standard
for Barbados, created in 1975. Second in precedence is the personal flag
of the governor-general. The main symbol of the monarchy is the sovereign
herself. Thus, portraits of her are displayed in public
buildings and on stamps. A crown is also used to illustrate the monarchy
as the locus of authority, appearing on police force and Barbados Defence Force regimental
and maritime badges and rank insignia, as well as Barbadian honours, the system of such
created through Letters Patent issued by Queen Elizabeth II in July 1980.==History==
The current Barbadian monarchy can trace its ancestral lineage back to the Anglo-Saxon
period and, ultimately, back to the kings of the Angles and the early Scottish kings. The Crown in Barbados has grown over the centuries
since the Barbados was claimed under King James VI of Scotland and I of England in 1625,
though not colonised until 1627, when, in the name of King Charles I, Governor Charles
Wolferstone established the first settlement on the island. By the 18th century, Barbados became one of
the main seats of British authority in the British West Indies, though, due to the economic
burden of duties and trade restrictions, some Barbadians, including the Clerk of the General
Assembly, attempted to declare in 1727 that the Act of Settlement 1701 had expired in
the colony, since the Governor, Henry Worsley, had not received a new commission from King
George II upon his accession to the throne. Thus, they refused to pay their taxes to a
governor they recognised as having no authority. The Attorney and Solicitor General of Great
Britain confirmed that Worsley was entitled to collect the dues owed, but, Worsley resigned
his post before the directive arrived in Barbados.After attempting in 1958 a federation with other
West Indian colonies, similar to that of fellow Commonwealth realms Canada and Australia,
continued as a self-governing colony under the Colonial Office, until independence came
with the signing of the Barbados Independence Order by Queen Elizabeth II. In the same year, Elizabeth’s cousin, Prince
Edward, Duke of Kent, opened the second session of the first parliament of the newly established
country, before the Queen herself, along with her husband, Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh,
toured Barbados, opening Barclays Park, in Saint Andrew, amongst other events. Elizabeth returned for her Silver Jubilee
in 1977, after addressing the new session of parliament, she departed on the Concorde,
which was the Queen’s first supersonic flight. She also was in Barbados in 1989, to mark
the 350th anniversary of the establishment of the Barbados parliament, where she sat
to receive addresses from both houses. In 2016 the Queen shared person congratulations
to the people and government of Barbados on reaching 50 years of political independence
and touched on her family’s foundness of Barbados and witnessing development of nation over
that time.==Republicanism==Former Prime Minister Owen Arthur called for
a referendum on becoming a republic to be held in 2005. It was announced on 26 November 2007 that
the referendum would be held in 2008, together with the general election. On 2 December 2007, reports emerged that this
vote was put off due to concerns raised by the Electoral and Boundaries Commission. Following the election, David Thompson replaced
Arthur as prime minister. On 22 March 2015, Prime Minister Freundel
Stuart announced his intention to move the country towards a republican form of government
“in the very near future”. The general secretary of the Democratic Labour
Party, George Pilgrim, confirmed the move and said that it is expected to coincide with
the 50th anniversary of Barbadian independence in 2016. According to the country’s constitution, a
two-thirds majority in parliament is needed to authorize the change; The Democratic Labour
Party has a two-thirds majority in the Senate, but not in the House of Assembly, where it
would need the support of the opposition Barbados Labour Party to approve the transition. Opposition leader Mia Mottley has not commented
on the Prime Minister’s proposal.==See also==List of Commonwealth visits made by Queen
Elizabeth II Monarchies in the Americas
List of monarchies==Notes====
Citations====
References==Burleigh, Craig (2017). “Queen Elizabeth II Silver Jubilee in Barbados
ends with her first flight on Concorde on a record setting flight back to London Heathrow”. Retrieved 15 April 2017. Elizabeth II (January 2010). “Queen and Barbados: Royal visits”. Retrieved 16 January 2010.==External links==
Queen’s Official website on Barbados Diamond Jubilee Celebration for Queen Elizabeth
II on YouTube, Visits to Barbados by the Royal Family over the decades

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