Barbados declared itself a republic, cutting colonial-era ties with Britain and Queen Elizabeth II

Charles, Prince of Wales (R) receives an order from the President of Barbados Dame Sandra Mason (II R) to declare Barbados a republic and the independence of Barbados during the inauguration ceremony of the President of Barbados at Heroes Square in Bridgetown, Barbados. November 30, 2021.

Randy Brooks/AFP/Getty


Bridgetown, Barbados Fireworks were set in the sky over Barbados on Tuesday after the Caribbean island nation declared itself the world’s newest republic. Queen ElizabethAs the flag of the U.S., it broke colonial-era ties to the British throne with the sound of a cannon salute.

“The Republic of Barbados has set off on its maiden voyage,” Dame Sandra Mason said in her inaugural address as the country’s first president, recognizing the complex, fragmented and turbulent world it will need to navigate.

“Our country must dream big and fight to make them come true,” the former governor-general told those attending the ceremony, which included Britain. prince charles,

The New Age for a nation of 285,000 people ends centuries of Britain’s influence, including more than 200 years of slavery until 1834. Addressing the matter during the handover, Charles acknowledged that slavery had left a mark on both countries.

royal visit to barbados
The Prince of Wales (left) delivers a speech at Heroes Square in Bridgetown Barbados after a ceremony to mark the country’s transition to a republic within the Commonwealth on November 30, 2021.

Jonathan Brady / PA Images / Getty


“From the darkest days of our past, and the terrible tyranny of slavery that forever stains our history, the people of this island made their way with extraordinary perseverance,” he told the crowd.

A long-running pandemic curfew was suspended to allow Barbadians to enjoy the festivities, which included projections at various points across the country and large fireworks displays to mark the historic transition Was.

The “Pride of the Nation” ceremony itself was closed to the wider public, but Barbados’ most famous civilian, singer Rihanna, accompanied top officials for the event, accompanied by a military parade, a mounted guard of honor and a gun salute.

One of the first acts of the new republic’s prime minister was to declare Riana the national hero of Barbados: “May you shine like a diamond and give honor to your country,” Prime Minister Mia Motley told the international celebrity.

Barbados became a republic in Bridgetown
Singer Rihanna stands to receive the honor of “National Hero” at the presidential inauguration ceremony to mark the birth of a new republic on November 30, 2021 in Barbados, Bridgetown, Barbados.

Toby Melville/Reuters


Known for its idyllic beaches and love of cricket, Barbados gained independence from Britain in 1966.

In October, it elected Mason its first president, a year after the Motley Fool declared the country would “completely” leave behind its colonial past.

Absolutely not “our royal family”

Some Barbadians argue that there are more pressing national issues than replacing the Queen, including the economic turmoil caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, which has exposed its over-reliance on tourism – which, ironically, is the British Depends on the visitors.

Unemployment stands at around 16%, up from 9% in recent years.

The 27-year-old office manager said, “I know this is something we have been going towards for a very long time, but I think it has come at a time that is most important given our economic situation and the COVID situation. Not a good time.” Nikita Stuart.

But for young activists like Firhana Bulbulia, founder of the Barbados Muslim Association, British colonialism and slavery lie behind the island’s modern inequalities.

“The wealth gap, the ability to own land, and even access to loans from banks all have a lot to do with the UK-ruled structure,” said 26-year-old Bulbulia.

royal visit to barbados
The Prince of Wales (left) joins Barbados President Sandra Mason (center) and Barbados Prime Minister Mia Motley (right) as they depart from Heroes Square in Bridgetown Barbados after a ceremony to mark the country’s transition ready to do. Republic within the Commonwealth, November 30, 2021.

Jonathan Brady / PA Images / Getty


For many Barbadians, replacing the Queen is just how the nation has felt over the years.

“I remember in the old days we used to get really excited about the Queen and Prince Charles and Princess Diana and royal weddings,” nurse Anastasia Smith, 61, told AFP. “But I don’t know if we’ve ever seen them as our royal family. Now, everyone’s talking about the Republic. I’m not sure that’s going to change anything about my life. But I think That we are doing is the right thing and it is a proud moment for Barbados.”

excited by Black Lives Matter Movements Across the world, local activists successfully advocated last year the removal of a statue of British Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson that had stood in National Heroes Square for two centuries.

And the end of the Queen’s rule is seen by some as a necessary step towards financial reform to address the historical consequences of using slaves brought from Africa to work on the sugar plantations.

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