THE HEAD OF STATE
In this lecture, we shall outline the appointment and functions of the Head of State, distinguishing between a colony and an independent country, and a Monarchy and a Republic. Anguilla is a British Overseas Territory as defined under the British Overseas Territories Act, 2002. As such, the head of state of Anguilla is Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. Queen Elizabeth is also the head of state of several independent West Indian nations, such as Barbados and Jamaica.
West Indian Constitutions have been modeled after the British Constitution, and reflect a number of the features of that Constitution. One of these British features is that the Head of State performs a largely ceremonial role. That point was established in England as a result of the struggle between the Roman Catholic Stuart dynasty and a largely Protestant Parliament. King Charles I had claimed to rule by divine right, and to have the power to abolish parliament and to raise taxes by command. The result was the English Civil War culminating in the execution of the King in 1650 on the orders of Parliament, and the subsequent replacement of the Stuart dynasty by William of Orange in 1688. British history books refer to this as the ‘Glorious Revolution'. The one notable exception in the West Indies, where the President as head of state exercises executive power and acts as head of government, is the Republic of Guyana. The President of Guyana is elected by the people, while those of Trinidad and Dominica are appointed by Parliament. Queen Elizabeth is neither elected nor appointed but belongs to a hereditary monarchy.
Monarchy versus Republic: Heads of State fall into two categories. One is the Monarch, or the Governor-General appointed in theory by her to be her agent or deputy, in those countries that retain the monarchy. Then, there is the President in those countries that have replaced the monarchy by a republic. The cases of the latter in the West Indies are Guyana,...