Lionfish invade Barbados, Brits plan to ditch Queen Elizabeth II

The sun sets on one of Barbados’ Atlantic reefs. Every year, roughly 1,500 invasive species colonize Caribbean islands, and the number goes up each year. PHOTO COURTESY OF CARIBBEAN ALGORITHMS FOR DISCOVERY. UNIVERSITY OF…

Lionfish invade Barbados, Brits plan to ditch Queen Elizabeth II

The sun sets on one of Barbados’ Atlantic reefs. Every year, roughly 1,500 invasive species colonize Caribbean islands, and the number goes up each year. PHOTO COURTESY OF CARIBBEAN ALGORITHMS FOR DISCOVERY. UNIVERSITY OF BAHAMAS..

Barbados is throwing itself a royal wedding.

The North American island of the British ruling dynasty is ready to dump Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. The move is to take place in about two years, in time for the Diamond Jubilee of the coronation of the queen’s great-great-grandmother Queen Victoria, and the eventual handover of power to her grandson Prince Charles, who turns 66 on Thursday.

Abdul Rahman, a spokesman for the justice minister, told Sky News on Friday that most of Barbados’ legislators were ready to change the constitution, and the move could take place “soon after” the jubilee in 2016.

One of the most obvious reasons for the change: Barbados has been successfully battling the larceny of invasive species.

Barbados was first designated a nation state in 1969, and in 1974, its parliamentary voting threshold was lowered to 50 percent of the vote. According to a survey of foreigners by the government, almost 100 percent of them thought electing a government under English common law would be a good idea.

“Barbados is the type of country that should be a world leader in security and defense for other countries to look at,” the congressman told Sky News.

The island, a popular destination for affluent U.S. retirees, has had tough immigration restrictions placed on its residents since the 1940s. Non-white people were prohibited from owning land. But the number of foreigners has been increasing over the past few decades.

But it’s the ravages of invasive species that have made such a logical and unstoppable move to incorporate other types of governance.

“The government’s largest problem has been invasive species,” Minister Rahman told Sky News.

Since 1997, Barbados has had more than 2,700 new species of invertebrates and flora. And every year, around 1,500 new species are added to the Islands’ waters.

“This indicates that over the years the Atlantic ocean has continued to suffer from massive environmental changes and the planet continues to face its biggest ecological challenge for more than 2,000 years,” according to figures from Barbados’ marine conservation group.

The consequences of those changes have been stark: Barbados is one of many Caribbean islands where warming sea temperatures have led to the spread of massive species. Barbados reported more than 4,000 cases of invasive species in 2014 — 40 percent more than in 2010.

So Barbados was a good candidate to start its own environmental chapter of the fishing industry, Rahman explained. That book would likely still have to be penned by the monarch, however: Barbados has not achieved international recognition for its environmental measures.

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