Barbados has severed colonial relations with Britain. The country is now officially a republic. Britain’s Queen Elizabeth has been removed from the presidency. Got its own flag. After 396 years, the British monarchy came to an end in the Caribbean.
The inauguration of the new Republic of Barbados took place at the Chamberlain Bridge in the capital, Bridgetown, just after midnight on Monday. 21 times cannon and national anthem were played in Heroes Square. At that moment, thousands of people gathered on the Chamberlain Bridge burst into tears. It was the country’s 55th Independence Day.
The Guardian reports that Sandra Mason officially took over as president of Barbados on Monday. He had previously served as the country’s governor general. The new head of state hopes that Barbados will move forward with new dreams.
Public opinion in favor of the republic
A survey was conducted before Barbados began its journey as a republic. The results of the survey were disclosed to the royal family. According to the Guardian, the survey found that 80 percent of Caribbean people support the republic. Only 1 in 10 was in favor of the Queen’s rule.
The move to overthrow the Queen is not new in Barbados. In 1980, several Caribbean countries pulled out of colonial rule. Earlier, Barbados gained independence from Britain in 1967. At the time, the country’s then-Prime Minister Errol Barrow hinted at coming out of the Queen’s rule. Long after this, on the Independence Day of November 30 last year, the government of the current Prime Minister Mia Motel announced the formation of the Republic of Barbados. However, despite being a republic, Barbados will be known as one of the Commonwealth countries.
Controversy over the presence of Prince Charles
Britain’s Prince Charles was present at the handover ceremony. He described Barbados’ journey as a republic as a new beginning. Prince Charles says the people of Barbados have made their way free from the dark times of the past and the atrocities of slavery.
Meanwhile, many are upset about the presence of Prince Charles on such an important day. They say slavery was at the heart of Britain’s relationship with Barbados. So the presence of Charles is a kind of insult to the people of Barbados.
David Danny, general secretary of the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration, told CNN that the British royal family benefited financially by establishing slavery in Barbados. Therefore, the participation of any member of the royal family on this day of liberation is not at all desirable.
King James I of Britain first sailed the coast of Barbados in 1825. Two years later, a British colony was formed in the country. Barbados was a major source of personal wealth in seventeenth- and eighteenth-century England, said Richard Drayton, a professor at King’s College London. Many families in England made a fortune overnight by trading in sugar and slaves. Considering all this, Charles’s presence on Monday was an insult to the people of the Caribbean country.
‘National Hero’ Rihanna
Popular Barbadian singer Rihanna was present on Monday. At that time, Prime Minister Mia Motel gave him the title of ‘National Hero’.
Addressing Rihanna, Motel said, “I hope you keep shining like a diamond. You will earn respect for the country through your work.