The National:

THE dual-island nation of Saint Kitts and Nevis gained its independence from Britain on this date in 1983, making this the 40-year anniversary.

The last former British territory in the Caribbean to have done so, Saint Kitts and Nevis chose to remain a constitutional monarchy with the British monarch as head of state.

In November 2021, Barbados became a republic, replacing the late Queen with a president as its head of state, and there has since been a growing movement in the Caribbean calling for the same. 

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Royal trips last year to Caribbean countries – which were criticised as “tone deaf” and hearkening back to colonial times – served as a further catalyst, with then deputy prime minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Shawn Richards, signalling the government’s intent to cut ties with the monarchy last year.

He said at the time: “The advancement of the decades has taught us that the time has come for St Kitts and Nevis to review its monarchical system of government and to begin the dialogue to advance to a new status, just as Trinidad, Guyana, Dominica and now Barbados have done.”

“All political parties, along with civil society and the youth, will have an opportunity to guide the way forward,” he added.

Then came the death of Queen Elizabeth II and the ascension of King Charles to the throne.

Prime minister of Saint Kitts and Nevis, Terrance Drew, posed with Charles, after attending a Commonwealth reception (below) before his coronation in May.

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Soon after, Drew said that the country is “not totally free” while Charles remains head of state.

But how would Saint Kitts and Nevis achieve this?

Drew told the BBC in May that a public consultation on whether the Commonwealth realm nation should become a republic would start during his leadership.

Will that find public support for ditching the monarchy? Research by former Conservative deputy chairman Lord Ashcroft found that of the 14 overseas countries where Charles is head of state, six - Australia, Canada, the Bahamas, Jamaica, the Solomon Islands, and Antigua and Barbuda – would vote to ditch the monarchy.

But Saint Kitts and Nevis wasn’t one of them – with 52% saying they would keep the monarchy and 45% saying they wouldn’t.

The National: Queen Elizabeth II death

Of course, this is just one poll that surveyed 11,251 people across all 14 countries in February and March this year and should be taken with a large pinch of salt.

While some of the countries polled would require a two thirds majority in a referendum, Saint Kitts and Nevis need just a simple majority of voters to pass – which makes the task a little easier.

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Lesson for Scottish independence: The growing movement in Caribbean nations to ditch the monarchy – Saint Kitts and Nevis included – shows Scotland that becoming a republic post-independence isn’t a pipe dream but highly possible with public support.

And public support appears to be there, with recent polls finding that a majority of Scots want to see an independent Scotland with an elected head of state.