Grenada expresses ‘hope’ of becoming republic on eve of coronation

Grenada is showing increasing interest in becoming a republic, with the country’s prime minister hoping it will be under his leadership.

In an interview with Sky News, Grenadian Prime Minister Dickon Mitchell spoke about republicanism, the Commonwealth, and the relationship the island nation has with the UK ahead of the King’s coronation.

When asked if there would be a Grenadian republic in his lifetime, Mr Mitchell said: “I believe so.”

The 45-year-old prime minister, who has been in office for 10 months, said he has “hope” it will happen during his leadership, but ruled out any concrete constitutional change before 2024.

“It’s not an immediate priority for us,” he said, citing economic, health, and social issues as being more important currently.

The news comes after Jamaica declared it has accelerated its plans to become a republic – as soon as next year – as Commonwealth countries take part in the King’s coronation over the weekend.

On Jamaica’s stance, Mr Mitchell said: “It’s obviously a decision for the Jamaican people and the Jamaican government.

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“Jamaica has a long history. With the UK, Jamaicans are very proud, very nationalistic. So I think they will decide, once given the opportunity, what’s in their best interest.”

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Jamaica could be a republic by 2024

The prime minister said the Grenadian population was divided towards republicanism, with some “apathetic”, as they believe it wouldn’t “make a difference” in their daily lives.

However, he added that “education” was important if Grenada was to progress towards autonomy.

He said: “If the public is convinced that it’s the right thing to happen, then I think we will see energy being galvanised and I think we will see us moving in that direction.”

The prime minister stressed, however, that even if Grenada became a republic, he would want to maintain a good relationship with the UK.

Another West Indian country, Barbados, officially became a republic in 2021, transitioning from a parliamentary constitutional monarchy which had the late Queen as its head of state.

Mr Mitchell disagreed with what Barbados had replaced the Queen with – a ceremonial head of state alongside an elected prime minister.

Preferring the idea of one elected leader, he said: “You have a ceremonial head of state, so you have the governor-general who essentially represents the monarch, and then you have a prime minister.

“It’s not inexpensive. If you’re a small developing nation… the cost of government matters. Because if you’ve got too expensive a government, then that means you’re putting resources into government that can be better used for education, health care, for improving the general standard of care of the citizens.”

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The royals and the Caribbean

The royals have had a strained relationship with Caribbean nations recently.

Last year, the Queen’s youngest son, Edward, and his wife Sophie were met with opposition during their tour of the Caribbean over colonialism protests. They cancelled their visit to Grenada before the tour had even begun.

A month before, Prince William condemned slavery while speaking in Jamaica, but did not apologise.

On this, the Grenadian prime minister said: “It’s always a little troubling as to why an apology seems such a difficulty.”