Sunday, April 21, 2024

Dame Billie to weigh in on Queen’s successor

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Barbados is to help Commonwealth nations decide who should succeed Queen Elizabeth as head of the international grouping of former British colonies should she die in office.

A high-level group of major Commonwealth figures, including Dame Billie Miller, a former Deputy Prime Minister of Barbados; Robert Hill, a former Australia minister of defence, and Dr Ngozi Okonjo Weal, a former Nigeria minister of finance, will meet soon in London and on their agenda, according to the BBC and the Press Association of London, will be the subject entitled “wider governance considerations”, code words for who should succeed the Queen as the ceremonial head of the Commonwealth, say officials.

When Elizabeth was crowned Queen in 1953, she was proclaimed Head of the Commonwealth by a handful of independent countries, but that number has since more than tripled and the panel is expected to consider a process to choose her successor, considering that the position wasn’t hereditary and therefore would not pass automatically to her heir, presumably Prince Charles, should he become the monarch.

“Any decision about the future would have to be made by the Commonwealth Heads of Government at the time of the Queen’s death, but there is no formal process for choosing her successor,” as Commonwealth head,” stated the Press Association.

“There has in the past been talk of electing a ceremonial leader to improve the organisation’s democratic credentials,” added the Press Association.

Other members of the Commonwealth panel are George Vella, former deputy prime minister of Malta; Lord Howell, once Britain’s energy secretary; and Anote Tong, former president of Kiribati.

They are expected to be guided by an agenda which states “discussions will take into consideration the issues raised in the first session and also the wider governance considerations of the Commonwealth”.

Their report will be considered at the next Commonwealth Heads of Government conference later this year.

Interestingly, Queen Elizabeth is recognised as head of state by only 15 of the 53 Commonwealth countries. (TB)

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