This Thursday, Barbados elected the first president of the Republic, Queen Elizabeth II, to rule 55 years after the Caribbean nation gained independence from the United Kingdom and joined the United Nations.
With a population of about 280,000, the Caribbean island has elected 72-year-old Sandra Mason as its new head of state. After amending the constitution, Sandra Mason will be sworn in on November 30. The country’s rule will no longer be in the hands of Queen Elizabeth II of England, the country’s Caribbean administrator announced today.
Sandra Mason was the first woman to serve on the Barbados Court of Appeal.
After being elected in a joint session of the Legislature and Senate, Mason said it was time for Barbados to completely abandon its colonial past.
The first former British colony to become a Caribbean republic was not Barbados, Guyana became a republic in 1970, Trinidad and Tobago in 1976 and Dominica in 1978.
The remaining colonies of the United Kingdom in the region, member territories of Caribbean society, chose the constitutional monarchy, which annexed territories with historical ties to London as part of the Commonwealth (community of nations).
Constitutional monarchy refers to the British monarch as the head of state.
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Motley has said she hopes the election of Sandra Mason as the country’s first female president will lead to greater unity in the fight against various external threats affecting the island.
The Prime Minister said the election was important for the people to fight and tackle difficulties such as epidemics and climate change, in order to defend the government’s decision to elect Sandra Mason as the first step in transforming Barbados into a republic.
Mia Modley warned that the Association of Epidemiology and Climate Change was a perfect storm that undermined the stability and ownership of Barbados.
“We are confident of the confidence needed to face the challenges that lie ahead,” he said.
The Prime Minister noted that a 267-square-kilometer island like Barbados cannot cope with the challenges it faces in a divided state, which is why he believes the union is necessary.
The action taken by Barbados, until November 30, was with the United Kingdom (UN).
Until now, Barbados had been a constitutional monarchy, with parliament consisting of Isabel II as head of state and the governor-general as its representative in the Caribbean.
Barbados is mainly populated by people of African descent.
Former Prime Minister Frendel Stuart announced in March 2015 that he would transform the monarchy into a republic in 2016, marking the 50th anniversary of the country’s independence.