Barbados formally removes Queen as Head of State: Island-nation becomes a Republic

 

Early on Tuesday, the Caribbean island of Barbados became a republic. It formally cut ties with its colonial past and removed Queen Elizabeth II as the Head of State, after almost four centuries of colonial rule. Sandra Mason, a former governor general of the island-nation appointed by the queen, was sworn in as the first President of Barbados.

There was a 21-gun salute and the national anthem was played. The red, yellow and navy blue royal flag was lowered fifty five years after the island got its independence from its former colonial master, Great Britain.

The 72-year President Ms. Mason told the onlookers who had assembled at Bridgetown, the capital city that debate and discourse had become action on the day and that they were setting their “compass to a new direction.” In October, she had received a majority vote in Parliament; to become the first president of the island.

Later, Prime Minister Mia Mottley said that they believed that the time had come for them to claim their “full destiny” and mentioned that the honor had been given to “a woman of the soil.”

In September, Barbados had announced that it would become a Republic. The democracy, containing about 300,000 people, decided to remove the monarchy. They followed the footsteps of other Caribbean nations such as

Guyana which gained independence in 1966 and became a republic four years later in 1970.
Trinidad and Tobago which gained independence in 1962 and became a republic in 1976.
Dominica which gained full independence and became a republic in 1978.

Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, attended the ceremony as a representative of the Queen. He was presented with the Order of Freedom of Barbados. He congratulated the nation and called them the “guardians” of their “heritage.”

Robin Rihanna Fenty, a global pop icon also attended the ceremony. She was born in Barbados and was declared to be a national hero.

Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Jamaica and Papua New Guinea are nations that still have the Queen as the head of state. Even though other nations no longer consider the Queen to be their head of state, they form a part of the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth is a group of 54 nations that have deep links with the erstwhile British Empire.

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