News, Politics

Barbados To Get A New Head Of State

Queen Elizabeth II visiting NASA in 2007. Image: NASA/Bill Ingalls
Queen Elizabeth II visiting NASA in 2007. Image: NASA/Bill Ingalls

Barbados has announced that Queen Elizabeth II will no longer be the country’s head of state. Instead, a “ceremonial president” will replace her.

Barbados plans to become a republic in 2016, when it celebrates its 50th anniversary of its independence.

The country’s prime minister, Freundel Stuart, said that having to pledge allegiance to the Queen instead of to Barbados is “a little awkward” in these modern times.

The subject of whether or not the Queen should be the head of states is largely split between older people, who favour the Queen, and younger people, who say that pledging allegiance to the Queen is old-fashioned.

Even though the Queen will no longer be Barbados’s head of state, the island will still be considered as a “Commonwealth” country.

With Barbados making the decision to cut ties with Queen Elizabeth, some people are wondering whether other Commonwealth countries will decide to do the same thing. The Commonwealth countries who have kept the Queen as their head of state are: Antigua and Barbuda, Australia, the Bahamas, Belize, Canada, Grenada, Jamaico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, St. Christopher and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the Solomon Islands and Tuvalu.

In 2013, a poll of Canadians asked if they would prefer to have a Canadian as head of state (if there were to be a change in the constitution). Although the majority of people said yes, there is likely to be no such change in the near future.

By Kathleen Tilly

Writing/Discussion Prompt
Commonwealth countries, such as Canada, have both a head of state (the Queen) and a head of government (the Prime Minister). The head of state is a ceremonial position, which includes responsibilities such as attending political functions and signing off on laws passed. If the Queen cannot sign off on a bill or attend an event, the Governor General (the Queen’s representative) will do it on her behalf. The head of government makes incredibly important decisions about how the country is to be run.

Do some online research to determine what other responsibilities are filled by the Queen (or the Governor General) and the Prime Minister. How are these roles similar? How are they different?

Reading Prompt: Predicting Unfamiliar Words
This article likely includes some terms that are unfamiliar to you, such as: commonwealth, head of state, ceremonial president, republic, pledge allegiance, constitution.
When we read and stumble upon an unfamiliar word or phrase, we often rely on strategies to understand its meaning. What strategies do you use when you read an unfamiliar word or phrase? What strategies did you use when reading this article? Which strategy was the most helpful and why?

Junior and Intermediate
Predict the meaning of and rapidly solve unfamiliar words using different types of cues, including: semantic, syntactic, graphophonic (OME, Reading: 3.2).

Language Feature: Proper vs. Common Nouns
Nouns are people, places and things. Circle all of the nouns in the article. You will notice that some nouns are capitalized and others aren’t. The capitalized nouns are proper nouns because they refer to specific people, places or things. Can you find 10 examples of proper nouns in the article?