Barbados elects its first president

Barbados elects its first president
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Barbados on Wednesday elected Sandra Mason, the island's current governor-general, to be its first president as it prepares to transition to republic status and remove Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state.

Mason, 72, is set to be sworn in as president on Nov. 30, the 55th anniversary of Barbados's independence from Britain, the BBC reported. She was the first woman to serve on the Barbados Court of Appeals and has served as governor-general since 2018.

Barbadian officials announced plans to remove Elizabeth as head of state last year, with Mason saying, "The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind."

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“Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state. This is the ultimate statement of confidence of who we are and what we are capable of achieving,” she added at the time.

As the BBC noted, Barbados, one of the more prosperous island nations in the Caribbean, is not the first former British colony to transition to a republic. Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago both became republics during the 1970's.

Queen Elizabeth is currently recognized as the head of state of 15 other countries in the British Commonwealth, including the U.K., Australia, Canada, the Bahamas and Jamaica.