With only a few weeks left until Barbados becomes a republic, the Caribbean Island has elected Dame Sandra Mason as its very first president. The 72-year-old will replace British Queen Elizabeth as head of state. Mason will take the oath of the office on 30 November, further marking the nation's 55th anniversary of independence from the United Kingdom. Mason was the governor-general of the island nation since 2018. She was the first woman to serve on the Barbados Court of Appeals.
Following a combined session of the House of Assembly and the Senate on 20 October, Wednesday, the election to choose president took place. Meanwhile, Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley described the election as a "seminal moment" for the country. The elections took place almost a year after the Barbados administration proclaimed its intention to become a republic. Previously, in the 1998 constitutional review, the change of status of the nation to the republic was suggested.
Barbados is one of the most populated and affluent Caribbean islands, constituting a population of over 285,000 Barbadians. Its economy, which was once highly reliant on sugar exports, has now expanded into tourist industry and commerce.READ | Queen Elizabeth II cancels two-day visit to Northern Ireland following 'medical advice'
'First president of the nation to serve as a mobilising & a uniting factor'
As per the Guardian, Mottley, while speaking about the elections, said that she hopes the first president of the nation will serve as a "mobilising and a uniting factor" that will allow the country to fight issues which it had never fought in an independent Barbados. She went on to say that Dame Sandra Mason's victory was also a setback for sexism. Quoting Mottley, the Guardian reported, "I know only too well the journey that it has taken for women to come to any position that they did not hold before."READ | Queen spends night at hospital for 'preliminary investigations'; remains in 'good spirits'
It is pertinent to mention that Barbados has not been the first Caribbean nation to reject the UK monarchy. Guyana claimed complete liberty four years after gaining independence from the United Kingdom in 1970, which was then followed by Trinidad and Tobago in 1976 and Dominica, two years later in 1978. There is also a possibility that Barbados won't be the last to become a republic. The choice of becoming a republic has reignited a long-running discussion in Jamaica over whether the monarchy should be abolished as well.READ | Barbados PM lauds India for COVID vaccine distribution, says 'gift of govt is significant'
Barbados was conquered by the British in the year 1627 and stayed as a British colony till the year 1961 when it gained internal sovereignty. The island acquired complete independence in 1966, although the Governor-General of Barbados maintains connections to the British monarch and it belonged to the Commonwealth of Nations of the UK administration.READ | Barbados PM invokes Bob Marley in UN address
(Image: AP/ Twitter/ @Kevpolitics)
Source : https://www.republicworld.com/world-news/rest-of-the-world-news/dame-sandra-mason-to-serve-as-barbados-first-president-to-replace-british-queen.html571