Has British empire risen again in new climate-change Commonwealth summit at Trinidad and Tobago?

Nov 30th, 2009 | By | Category: In Brief
Left to right: Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and South African President Jacob Zuma share a joke at Commonwealth summit 2009. Kenroy Ambris/Commonwealth Secretariat.

Left to right: Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and South African President Jacob Zuma share a joke at Commonwealth summit 2009. Kenroy Ambris/Commonwealth Secretariat.

TORONTO, CANADA. NOVEMBER 30, 2009. In this city once known as “the citadel of British sentiment in America,” our current resident Ontario historian Randall White has prepared a short but sweet report on this past weekend’s Commonwealth summit in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. CLICK HERE for the full sweep of his commentary, “Commonwealth’s 60th anniversary summit in Trinidad … still ‘an old boys club headed by an old lady’?”

As Dr. White explains: “To help enhance the relevance of the proceedings, the host Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Patrick Manning and his colleagues arranged to have the 60th anniversary summit focus on the crucial issue of climate change — as a kind of warm-up to the broader international climate change colloquium in Copenhagen, Denmark, this coming December 7–18.”

For good enough reasons, Dr. White’s report does not also explain that, the day before the Commonwealth summit began in Trinidad, a national referendum on constitutional reform in neighbouring St. Vincent & The Grenadines was defeated, with 43.13% (22,493) of voters opting for a new charter and 55.64% (29,019) voting against. Among other things, the proposed new constitution, strongly endorsed by  Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves, “would have removed Queen Elizabeth II as head of state and installed a non-executive president in her stead.”

In an interview early this morning, Dr. White did tell us that, in his view, the defeat of the 2009 constitutional referendum on the British monarchy in St. Vincent & The Grenadines had a lot in common with the parallel 1999 republican referendum defeat in Australia. In St. Vincent the opposition New Democratic Labour Party (NDP), “though also in favour of a republican system,” opposed the selection of a president by parliament and insisted “that the office should be filled by a nationally elected candidate.”

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at the 2009 Commonwealth summit. A proponent of doing something about climate change, he is also a self-declared republican who has promised to do something about the obsolete British monarchy in Australia, at some point in the not too distant future (assuming he is still Prime Minister of Australia then of course). Kenroy Ambris/Commonwealth Secretariat.

Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd talks about climate change at the 2009 Commonwealth summit. He is also a declared republican who has promised to do something about the obsolete British monarchy in Australia, at some point in the future (assuming he is still Prime Minister of Australia then of course). Kenroy Ambris/Commonwealth Secretariat.

This bears a striking resemblance to the protest against a “Politicians’ Republic” in Australia a decade ago. And the lesson Dr. White draws from both failures is that successful republican referendums in the remaining 15 countries outside the United Kingdom that still share the British monarch as titular head of state (including Canada) will almost certainly have to propose replacing the monarch with a directly elected ceremonial head of state — broadly on the model pioneered successfully for the past 72 years by the current republic of Ireland.

In any case, Dr. White reminded us at the end of the interview, the great majority of the Commonwealth’s current 54 member countries are republics already — even though Queen Elizabeth II does remain the ceremonial or symbolic “Head of the Commonwealth” (and was very much in evidence at the 60th anniversary summit in Trinidad and Tobago).

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  1. I dont think that the “defeat in the Referendum ” has spoilt anything True. The gray old lady is just that as she is not the Queen, infact which ever line you take as there are now currently two: the Micheal Abney Hastings line [of the rightful legitimate line of Royalty – see documentary :http://www.channel4.com/programmes/britains-real-monarch/4od#3011397 ] the documentary is yet to be refuted by both the “royal family” and the Governement in the U.k.

    Then there is my claim that she has already disqualfied her Crown as given by the 1701 Settlments Act which Mr Brown was probably trying to get to be amended over the weekend.
    She is not Queen.

    The Act seen here: http://www.statutelaw.gov.uk/content.aspx?activeTextDocId=1565208

    Does 3 things NOT the 1 that is commonly falsely fed us with.
    :a) forbids any catholic from taking the throne of Great Britain
    (b) forbids ANY “Protestant Monarchs” that have been crowned and then backslides and has communion or anything to do with the Roman Catholic Faith and or the Pope! from any regal power and of authority – they forfeit the Crown
    and finally
    (c) it allows Citizens & Governments of these realms[Britain and Commonweatlh] to be absolved of their allegiances with such a [backslidden]monarch..this of course includes paying taxes as they are collected by Her Majesty’s inland Revenue! as it denies the backslidden monarch from enjoying the present Government
    CUT AND PASTED.
    (a)And it was thereby further enacted That all and every Person and Persons that then were or afterwards should be reconciled to or shall hold Communion with the See or Church of Rome or should professe the Popish Religion or marry a Papist should be excluded and are by that Act made for ever [X1 incapable] to inherit possess

    (b)or enjoy the Crown and Government of this Realm and Ireland and the Dominions thereunto belonging or any part of the same or to have use or exercise any regall Power Authority or Jurisdiction within the same

    (c)And in all and every such Case and Cases the People of these Realms shall be and are thereby absolved of their Allegiance And that the said Crown and

    The gray old lady first foreited it as far as I am aware in the 80s when she met with the Pope at the Vatican and then he came here – she is due to meet with him again next year . More recently she had HOLY COMMUNION at VESPERS [evening Prayers] at the main Catholic in Westminster in 2005.. all of which are a NO NO for the head of the Church of England and monarch according to the ACT . As such Citizens are free and abolved of their alligiences in such cases. I stand absolved!…. Furthermore will some one go and tell the EU who are already rushing to deconstruct the City of London , leave Britain economically incompetent and a beggar nation!…Er..guys unless there is a Protestant Monarch on the Seat NO BILLS can be passed in our British Parliament to make as Laws and so techinically you are invading Britain!

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