Tuesday, November 30, 2021, the citizens of Barbados attained new status as they welcomed the first Republican President as the Head of State in a glorious celebration. Barbadian Dame Sandra Mason is taking on the role as Barbados enters this new place as a Republic, now fully independent of the United Kingdom. After being sworn in, Mason stated the following.
"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," -BBC News
This ceremony took place 55 years after Barbados became independent while keeping the monarch in a ceremonial role. Barbados will, however, remain in the Commonwealth of Nations, which is a voluntary association of 54 countries.
A Glorious Celebration of Independence
In all its pomp and circumstance, the evening was celebrated with entertainment, inaugurations, and oaths of allegiance. One of the notable guests at the event was the Prince of Wales. In his address, Prince Charles used his time to address the pain slavery caused and to encourage the friendship of the two nations. Additionally, he stated that creating the new republic "offers a new beginning… with warmest good wishes" from the Queen.
The evening air was full of fireworks, steel pan players, and numerous additional artists' contributions. Joining the celebration was also a National Hero of Barbados, Sir Garfield Sobers, along with Chief Justice Gibson, Prime Minister Mottley, and newly awarded National Hero, Rihanna. In fact, after President Mason bestowed honor upon Rihanna, she said this to the pop star.
"May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation." -BBC News
Leaving their colonial past behind, Barbados lowered the British monarch's Royal standard flag and replaced it with the new flag as a symbol of the change. After 400 years of British rule, the ties have been severed, and the island of Barbados is a republic at last. Barbados joins other Caribbean islands like Guyana, Dominica, and Trinidad & Tobago, gaining complete independence from the crown.
CITED: Jamaica.loopnews.com, BBC News, the New York Times, USA Today