Barbados has announced plans to remove the Queen as head of state, 54 years after it gained independence from Britain.

Buckingham Palace has responded to Barbados’s move towards becoming a republic saying it is a “matter for the government and people” of the Commonwealth country.

The traditional "Throne Speech" marks the state opening of Barbados parliament, where Governor-General Dame Sandra Mason set out the plans. 

READ MORE: Michael Gove to be grilled by MSPs over Internal Market Bill after no-show row

Referencing a famous comment by her country’s first prime minister Errol Barrow, Dame Sandra said he had cautioned “against loitering on colonial premises” adding “that warning is as relevant today as it was in 1966.”

Barbados gained its independence from Britain in 1966, with the Queen acting as head of state since then.

During the following decades, the issue of becoming a republic had been discussed at national level - but now Barbados feels its time to leave the "colonial past behind".

Asked to comment on the Commonwealth country’s plans, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “This is a matter for the government and people of Barbados.”

Dame Sandra, who is the Queen’s official representative in Barbados, said in her speech delivered on Tuesday: “Since independence, we Barbadians have sought constantly to improve our systems of law and governance so as to ensure they best reflect our characteristics and values as a nation.

“Barbados’s first Prime Minister, The Rt Excellent Errol Walton Barrow, cautioned against loitering on colonial premises. That warning is as relevant today as it was in 1966.”

HeraldScotland: Members of the royal family, including the Prince of Wales who is shown meeting singer Lionel Richie and Sir Tom Jones, have enjoyed visits to Barbados over the years Members of the royal family, including the Prince of Wales who is shown meeting singer Lionel Richie and Sir Tom Jones, have enjoyed visits to Barbados over the years

The speech, written by the Prime Minister Mia Mottley, set out the Barbados government’s agenda for the second session of the 2018-2023 parliament.

The Governor-General added: “Having attained independence over half a century ago, our country can be in no doubt about its capacity for self-governance. The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind. Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state.

READ MORE: St Andrews errant golf shots risking drinkers at Old Course hotel

“This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving. Hence, Barbados will take the next logical step toward full sovereignty and become a Republic by the time we celebrate our 55th Anniversary of Independence.”

Having achieved independence in 1966, November 30, 2021 will mark its 55th year of self-governance.

The nation therefore has 14 months to enact the major constitutional changes which could usher in an elected presidential-style head of state.

The Cox Commission was established in 1979 to examine the feasibility of introducing a republic but concluded people wanted the present system to remain.

HeraldScotland: The Duke of Sussex has made a number of official visits to Barbados over the years and is pictured in 2010 holding Jean-Luc Jordan aged 7 weeks, with father Michael (left), at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in the capital Bridgetown The Duke of Sussex has made a number of official visits to Barbados over the years and is pictured in 2010 holding Jean-Luc Jordan aged 7 weeks, with father Michael (left), at the Queen Elizabeth II Hospital in the capital Bridgetown

In 1998, a Barbados constitutional review commission recommended republican status, and in 2015 prime minister Freundel Stuart said “we have to move from a monarchical system to a republican form of government in the very near future”.

The Queen is head of state in 16 countries, including Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia and St Vincent in the Caribbean. 

The Commonwealth country would join Trinidad and Tobago, Dominica and Guyana if it proceeds with its plan to become a republic. Jamaica has also flagged such a transition, with Prime Minister Andrew Holness saying it is a priority of his government, but has yet to achieve it.

Barbados took another step away from the UK in 2003 when it replaced the London-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council with the Caribbean Court of Justice, located in Trinidad and Tobago’s Port of Spain, as its final appeals court.