Barbados to Remove Queen Elizabeth II As Head Of State. A Black Woman Will Become Country's First President.
Sandra Mason served as the country's governor-general before Barbados parliament elected her as the island's first president.
November 29, 2021 at 9:47 pm
Barbados is scheduled to remove England's Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and declare itself a republic on Monday, taking its movement for independence another step forward as it leaves British control. Replacing the monarch is Sandra Mason, the country's former governor-general, who will be named the island's first president. According to CNN, the Barbadian parliament elected Mason in October.
Barbados will become a republic this week, replacing Queen Elizabeth as head of state.— AJ+ (@ajplus) November 29, 2021
British colonizers enslaved over 380,000 people to work on Barbados' sugar plantations. Sandra Mason, set to be the first president, said she wants to "fully leave our colonial past behind." pic.twitter.com/mlx4GDyE0B
“The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind,” Mason said in her speech last week as the then-governor-general. “Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state.”
The island, which has a population of just under 300,000, has prepared a ceremony for Monday night, on the 55th anniversary of the country's independence — shedding its title as a British colony.
Prince Charles arrived on the island late Sunday night, as he plans to be present for the festivities since receiving an invitation from Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley. After landing in Bridgetown, the heir to the British throne was honored with a 21-gun salute and honor guard. Prince Charles is set to deliver a speech after midnight.
Al Jazeera reports the change isn't likely to create any issues with international relations, as the queen's status as head of state was largely viewed as a symbolic stance.
"As your constitutional status changes, it was important to me that I should join you to reaffirm those things which do not change," the prince is expected to tell the crowd gathered at National Heroes Square, according to CNN.
"For example, the close and trusted partnership between Barbados and the United Kingdom as vital members of the Commonwealth; our common determination to defend the values we both cherish and to pursue the goals we share; and the myriad connections between the people of our countries — through which flow admiration and affection, co-operation and opportunity — strengthening and enriching us all," his remarks read.
CNN reports that the move to finally declare its independent status as a republic has been a long time coming for the country.
"Becoming a republic is a coming of age," Guy Hewitt, a former Barbados high commissioner to the United Kingdom between 2014 and 2018, said. "I make the analogy to when a child grows up and gets their own house, gets their own mortgage, gives their parents back the keys because it says we are moving on."