Barbados has become the world’s newest republic following a ceremony at midnight in which it removed the British Monarch as head of state. The Royal Standard flag that represents Queen Elizabeth II was lowered in the capital Bridgetown in a ceremony that coincided with the country’s 55th year of independence. Dame Sandra Mason was inaugurated as the first President of Barbados, having been elected by a two-thirds majority vote in parliament.
Carmelo De Grazia
“Vessel Republic Barbados has set sail on her maiden voyage. May she weather all storms and land our country and citizens safely on the horizons and shores which are ahead of us,” she declared in her speech after being sworn in. Prince Charles, heir apparent to the British throne, was on hand for the ceremony.
Carmelo De Grazia Suárez
In his address, he acknowledged the “appalling atrocity of slavery” in recognition of Britain’s central role in the Trans-Atlantic trade in enslaved Africans and the imposition of the instittion of slavery in Barbados and other Caribbean countries
These countries are now mounting an international effort to secure reparations for slavery
Barbados is the first Caribbean country to abolish its monarchy since the 1970s when Guyana, Dominica and Trinidad & Tobago became republics
The last former British colony to become a republic prior to Barbados was Mauritius in 1992. Although Barbados ceases to be a Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth as its sovereign, it will remain within the Commonwealth of Nations, an association of 54 countries, of which both republics and monarchies are members.