Speaking in the Belizean parliament on Thursday, the Minister for Constitutional and Political Reform, Henry Charles Usher said “perhaps it is time for Belize to take the next step” towards independence. He said: “Madam Speaker, the decolonisation process is enveloping the Caribbean region. “Perhaps it is time for Belize to take that next step in truly owning our independence.”
He added: “But, it is a matter that the people of Belize must decide on.”
This came just two days after the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge visited the country.
The tour, which was widely seen to be part of a “charm offensive”, saw the couple visit Belize, Jamaica and the Bahamas.
It was scheduled to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
However, it was rocked by turbulence.
The future King and Queen were forced to abandon the first stop on their tour of Belize, as they were met with protests over a land rights dispute relating to Prince William’s patronage of a conservation charity.
Meanwhile, their visit to Jamaica was marked out by the Jamaican Prime Minister’s announcement that the country intends to become a republic.
In an official meeting with Kate and William, the country’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness said: “We’re very, very happy to have you and we hope you’ve received a warm welcome of the people.
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“Jamaica is a very free and liberal country and the people are very expressive —and I’m certain that you would have seen the spectrum of expressions yesterday”, partly referring to protests demanding reparations for slavery, which took place in the capital.
He added: “There are issues here, which as you know, are unresolved, but your presence gives us an opportunity for those issues to be placed in context, to be out front and centre and to be addressed as best we can.
“But Jamaica is, as you would see, is a country that is proud of its history and very proud of what we have achieved.
“And we’re moving on and we intend to… fulfil our true ambitions and destiny to become an independent, developed and prosperous country.”
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This comes less than six months after Barbados removed the Queen as head of state and became a republic.
In a speech given during his time in Jamaica, Prince William condemned Britain’s role in the slave trade, calling it “abhorrent”.
However, he stopped short of issuing an apology.
The Duke of Cambridge said: “I strongly agree with my father, the Prince of Wales, who said in Barbados last year, that the appalling atrocity of slavery forever stains our history.”
He added: “I want to express my profound sorrow.
“Slavery was abhorrent. And it should never have happened.”