Jamaica and Belize are both on course to ditch Britain's King Charles III as their head of state and become republics, leading politicians from the Caribbean countries said.
Jamaica and Belize are former UK colonies that have been independent for decades. But, like 12 other Commonwealth nations outside Britain, they retained the UK sovereign as head of state.
What's the Commonwealth and who's in it?
Charles addresses Commonwealth over slavery links
Will Charles III be as influential as Elizabeth II?
Marlene Malahoo Forte, Jamaica's minister for legal and constitutional affairs, said Charles's coronation has accelerated her nation's plans to become a republic.
"Time has come. Jamaica in Jamaican hands," she told Sky News. "We have to get it done, especially with the transition in the monarchy. My government is saying we have to do it now."
Malahoo Forte said Jamaica could hold a referendum as soon as next year. She noted it has a "complex" relationship with Britain and becoming a republic would be "saying goodbye to a form of government that is linked to a painful past of colonialism and the transatlantic slave trade."
Belize's constitutional investigation
Belize Prime Minister John Briceno said it was "quite likely" his country would be the next to quit the Commonwealth realm, saying "there is no excitement" among his compatriots for the coronation.
Briceno sharply criticized UK Prime Minister Rishi Sunak's refusal to say sorry publicly for Britain's historical role in slavery. "He has a moral responsibility to be able to offer at the very least an apology," Briceno told The Guardian newspaper.
The Belize government last year passed legislation creating a constitutional commission, which convened in November, to consider instituting various reforms, including becoming a republic.
Its recommendations, reportedly due next year, could be put to a referendum, but Belize's parliament could also simply vote to remove the UK monarch as head of state.
Charles and the Commonwealth
Since taking the throne, Charles has sought to put the 56-nation Commonwealth at the heart of his reign. He is also supporting research into the historical links between the monarchy and the transatlantic slave trade, Buckingham Palace revealed last month.
But there are questions about whether he can inspire the same respect and devotion as his mother, who ruled for a record 70 years. During a rocky Caribbean tour by Charles's elder son Prince William and his wife Kate in March last year, Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness said his country was "moving on."
The royal couple faced calls to apologise for the slave trade that helped make past British royals' fortunes, and were accused of appearing "tone deaf" over elements of the visit.
The Caribbean island of Barbados became a republic in 2021 – and at a Commonwealth summit the following year, the then Prince Charles insisted that the choice to become a republic or abandon the queen as head of state was "a matter for each member country to decide."
Following the death of Queen Elizabeth II, the prime minister of Antigua and Barbuda – another Commonwealth realm – said he aims to have a referendum on the issue within three years.
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