Barbados to leave the Crown seduced by Beijing's billions

Barbados


New Delhi, Nov 29 : British media is posing the question if Barbados will live to regret kicking out the Queen and being seduced by Beijing's billions. The Prince of Wales will be guest of honour as one of the world's smaller democracies formally severs its connections with the Crown and proclaims itself the republic of Barbados, Daily Mail reported. As of Tuesday morning, soldiers, police officers, judges, civil servants and all the other apparatus of state in what many regard as the 'most British' of the Caribbean nations (some still call it 'Little England') will no longer owe allegiance to the Queen. There is a new imperial powerhouse in the Caribbean: China, the report said. Shiny new cricket stadia and hotel developments are all sprouting, courtesy of Beijing. Just last week, China announced it was building a $274 million ring-road for Jamaica's second city, Montego Bay, the report said. Announcing the deal, its Chinese ambassador, Tian Qi, issued the usual platitudes about 'greener development', before telling Jamaicans: 'To get rich, build roads first'. By contrast, Britain's promise to spend £2.8 million on marine research in 17 small island states across the Caribbean and Pacific does not cut much mustard. Just days before the start of the pandemic, Barbados signed a new Memorandum of Understanding, making the country a new member of China's 'Belt and Road Initiative', enjoying new benefits in 'shipping, aviation, infrastructure and modern agriculture', the report said. There is, of course, no such thing as a free lunch. The debts for the country's new Chinese buses, buildings, roads and hotel complexes must be repaid in some way, it said. When one UK journalist did manage to broach the subject with the prime minister in Barbados a week ago, the response was a thinly-veiled charge of racism. It was 'a reflection of unconscious bias', Mia Mottley told the Sunday Times, to question the country's links with China: 'It suggests we can only exist as pawns of someone and if it is not the British empire it must be the Chinese empire.' /IANS




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