We look at how the death of Queen Elizabeth II is prompting former British colonies in the Caribbean to replace the British monarch as their head of state. Antigua and Barbuda’s prime minister has vowed to hold a referendum soon on whether to become a republic, and Jamaica’s ruling Labour Party also plans a vote. The Caribbean at one point formed the heart of England’s first colonial empire in North America, with millions of enslaved Africans taken to the islands, where many were worked to death.
Dorbrene O’Marde, chair of the Antigua and Barbuda Reparations Commission, says he is not personally mourning Queen Elizabeth’s death because her reign helped to “cloak the historical brutality of empire in this veneer of grandeur and pomp and pageantry.” We also speak with renowned Jamaican poet and musician Mutabaruka, who says the British monarchy “represents criminal activity” and that the British state needs to make reparations to former colonies like Jamaica to redress the history of abuses. “Actions speak louder than words,” he says.