PM Browne to attend State Funeral of HM Queen Elizabeth II

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Minister the Hon. Gaston Browne is today in London, England where he will attend the State Funeral of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Westminster Abbey on Monday 19th September.

Before departing Antigua and Barbuda for London on Thursday, Prime Minister Browne participated in a special session of the House of Representatives where he spoke of the late Queen’s personality and the humility with which she carried out her duties as Queen of several realms and head of the Commonwealth of Nations.

“She had an abiding interest in the countries of which she was Queen, and ours was no exception. This House of Representatives today, in this special session, mark the passing of our Sovereign Head of State.  We do so with affection, admiration and respect, for her enduring legacy of service, resilience and quiet demeanour which inspired us all.  May the legacy of her exceptional example endure in perpetuity,” stated Prime Minister Browne.

Prime Minister Browne also spoke about the high regard for which the late Queen was held, making reference to  Mozambique, Cameroon, Rwanda, Togo and Gabon joining the Commonwealth, which had no previous links to Her Majesty.

“This fact, in itself, is testimony to the worldwide regard in which Queen Elizabeth II was held, and the great value that was placed in the quality of her leadership,” he said.

“It is no wonder that, throughout the world, including in countries where she was not Queen and which are not members of the Commonwealth,  there has been spontaneous and heart-felt outpouring of grief at Her Majesty’s passing.  This is the measure of respect and affection in which Elizabeth II was personally held,” Prime Minister Browne said.

In closing his tribute to the late Queen, Prime Minister Browne pledged his full support and allegiance to the new head of state, King Charles III, and wished him good health and a long and successful reign.

“The King is no stranger to us, and I look forward to meeting him personally to convey our collective allegiance to him, and, at a personal level, to express our sincere condolences on the loss of his mother – a loss with which each of us can deeply sympathize,” Prime Minister Browne concluded.

In Antigua and Barbuda, Monday 19th September, the day of the State Funeral for Her Majesty, has been declared a public holiday and a National Day of Mourning.  On Monday at 11 a.m. at the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, Governor General’s Deputy, Sir Clare Roberts and Acting Prime Minister, the Hon. Steadroy Benjamin will participate in a Thanksgiving Service for the Life and Service of Her Late Majesty Queen Elizabeth II.  The Thanksgiving Service will be followed by a parade through the streets of St. John’s by members of the country’s security forces.

See below the full text of the Prime Minister’s Tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in the House of Representatives on Thursday 15th September:

Statement by the Honourable Prime Minister, Gaston Browne, on the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II, Head of State of Antigua and Barbuda on Thursday, 15th September 2022 in the National Assembly of Antigua and Barbuda  

Mr. Speaker

Our country has lost the only Head of State known to the majority of our population.

Elizabeth of the House of Windsor, came to the Throne of many realms, including Antigua and Barbuda, in 1952.

In the 70 years of her reign, she met every head of government of our country, going back to our National Hero, Sir Vere Cornwall Bird, even before we attained our political independence in 1981.

Every one of her heads of government of Antigua and Barbuda, including me, can attest to the warmth of her personality, and the humility with which she carried out her duties as Queen of several realms and head of the Commonwealth of Nations.

She had an abiding interest in the countries of which she was Queen, and ours was no exception.

In the course of her reign, she was the Sovereign of more than 30 countries.

Recognizing that she could not be physically present in all of them with the frequency that she might have liked, she ensured that many members of the Royal family visited each of them.

Thus, while she herself came to Antigua and Barbuda several times, so too did her husband, Prince Phillip, her sister Princess Margaret, Prince Charles – now King Charles III –and even her grandsons, William and Harry.

She maintained her knowledge of events in our country, on a regular basis, through her appointed Governors from 1952 until 1981, and, after that, through her appointed Governors-General, who represented her as Head of State, each of whom sent her monthly dispatches.

Sixteen realms around the world now mourn Queen Elizabeth’s passing – seven of them, including Antigua and Barbuda – are in the Caribbean.

Therefore, we in Antigua and Barbuda join with the 15 others, including Australia, Britain, Canada, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, the Solomon Islands and six other Caribbean states, in mourning Her Majesty’s passing.

In her 70 years as our Sovereign, Elizabeth II was also head of the Commonwealth of Nations.

When she became head of this voluntary association, its membership was only eight countries of which three were Republics.

Today, 56 nations comprise the Commonwealth and 35 of them are republics, with another 5 having their own monarchs.

Her Majesty The Queen, did not stand in the way of her realms, transitioning to Republican status, if that was the expressed wish of their peoples.

Under her stewardship, 16 of her realms became Republics, and each of them remained part of the Commonwealth, readily accepting her as “the symbol of their voluntary association”.

Remarkably, the five newest members of the Commonwealth, whose Governments and peoples embraced the Queen, as Head of the Association, are not English-speaking and did not have any previous links to Her Majesty.

Those countries are all African – Mozambique, Cameroon, Rwanda, Togo and Gabon.

This fact, in itself, is testimony to the worldwide regard in which Queen Elizabeth II was held, and the great value that was placed in the quality of her leadership.

It is no wonder that, throughout the world, including in countries where she was not Queen and which are not members of the Commonwealth,  there has been spontaneous and heart-felt outpouring of grief at Her Majesty’s passing.

This is the measure of respect and affection in which Elizabeth II was personally held, notwithstanding ancient resentments that persist, regarding the role of her ancestors in colonialism, exploitation and their attendant attributes.

This House of Representatives today, in this special session, mark the passing of our Sovereign Head of State.

We do so with affection, admiration and respect, for her enduring legacy of service, resilience and quiet demeanour which inspired us all.

May the legacy of her exceptional example endure in perpetuity.

In homage to Her Majesty, and in keeping with the protocols regarding the passing of our Head of state, the Cabinet has designated Monday, September 19, 2022 as an official holiday, on the occasion of the Queen’s interment, so that the people of our nation might reflect – each in their own way – on the lessons of her noble life.

I will travel to London this weekend, as Head of Government of Her Majesty’s realm of Antigua and Barbuda, to attend her funeral as a mark of respect, and in recognition of the great esteem in which the late Queen was held by the people of our nation.

May her soul rest in heavenly peace.

Mr. Speaker, on behalf of the Government and people of Antigua and Barbuda, and consistent with the tenets of our Constitution that we are all sworn to uphold, I pledge our full support and allegiance to our new head of state, King Charles III, and wish him good health and a long and successful reign.

The King is no stranger to us, and I look forward to meeting him personally to convey our collective allegiance to him, and, at a personal level, to express our sincere condolences on the loss of his mother – a loss with which each of us can deeply sympathize.

Thank you.

 

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8 COMMENTS

  1. “In closing his tribute to the late Queen, Prime Minister Browne pledged his full support and allegiance to the new head of state, King Charles III, and wished him good health and a long and successful reign.”

    This is disgusting to say the least!!

    Early in the year, the PM is asking them to “use their influence to assist in getting reparations” then next he is pledging FULL allegiance.

    Why are we as an electorate allowing our leaders that we trusted with our country’s leadership to pledge allegiance not to the electorate ohh no…. na…. but to the Monarch of England??!!!

    Why is this normal?

    And why is the PM going to the funeral? Isn’t the Governor General already representing Antigua and Barbuda?

    This country is sooo.. idk.

    • @ So Appalled
      He said that the Cabinet said he must go. He also announced that from there he will be going to the states and then to the UN meeting. I suppose the handbag is with him? Did she check the houses to ensure that if there is flooding it will be handled in her absence? Did she leave someone in charge at the Ministry, esp at a time like this?
      As Shylock said in the Merchant of Venice, “suffering is the badge of our tribe”. Lord, when will this cup pass from us? Haven’t we suffered enough?

    • @So Appalled. So basically you appear to think that Antigua can survive without tourism and we don’t need that industry because the tourists are around 99% white and you hate white people and think they owe you. Antigua is 108 square miles which equates to 69,120 acres…that is worth a few billion. How much more do you think you should get and why. Slavery was outlawed by Britain 200 years ago. Africa continued to sell slaves and sent them to the Middle East instead. Most countries have had slavery and some still do (Africa, Haiti, China etc.). There is still sex trade human trafficking, including children, in various countries.
      Please do advise how Antigua can economically survive without tourism and FDI because if people like you continue to spew this incomprehensible hate the tourists will NOT come here and there will be nobody except China to beg from and they will control you and the islands. There is no shortage of other countries to visit who do not hate and appreciate the millions and millions of dollars that tourism and FDI brings into their economies.
      It is correct and respectful protocol for the PM to attend the funeral and don’t kid yourself that potential tourists and/or investors are not reading all this hate and unfounded disrespect and deciding to go and spend their monies elsewhere!

    • Just to educate you about the Governor General and the Prime Minister’s function.
      Antigua is a Parliamentary Democracy with the Queen as Head of State. Technically we cannot elect a Queen. We elect a Prime Minister who is the Head of the Government in this twin Island State. The PM therefore represents the people who elected him. And since this is a democracy, the majority rules. The Queen gives the PM the authority to choose a person that would be her representative in the country. The PM makes the recommendation to the Queen, who can either accept or deny the recommendation. Therefore the Governor General going to the funeral of his boss, is not the same as the PM going to the funeral as the people’s representative.
      Hope this has educated you a bit as to why both persons are going in different positions.

  2. Again, pure double-speak by our Prime Minister; I’m sick to the back teeth of his wishy washy leadership.

    Let’s speak the real truth here:

    Gaston Browne has always loved the pomp and ceremony of office, but doing the right thing for the country he has always been lacking.

    Look at when we have issues in Antigua, you hardly see or hear from him; but when there’s a chance to travel abroad and poke he nose in other countries business, he’s there before a magician can say”abracadabra”.

    Once again the Prime Minister is DANCING ABROAD BEFORE DANCING AT HOME – WHY DOES HE KEEP FINDING AWAY OF HIDING FROM ANTIGUANS AND ANTIGUA’S PROBLEMS?

    Remember, if he gets a third term of office he will continue to go missing … we deserve so much better folks!

  3. BTW, the Cabinet Notes say the PM will be meeting with King Charles III. Anybody knows what he will be talking to the King about? Guess we don’t deserve to know that. And is this really true? Or will he be one of the Commonwealth members who will be attending a meeting with King Charles?
    Let us suppose it is true, I can predict the conversation with the King:” I won’t say anything about becoming a republic if we come to an agreement. My elections coming up very soon, and I need some help. By the way, my beautiful wife here has a charity that accepts donations. And talking about my wife, what happens here in Buckingham Palace stays in Buckingham Palace.”

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