Barbados becomes republic, cutting ties to Queen Elizabeth

Barbados cut ties to Queen Elizabeth overnight, becoming a new republic and gaining its first president.

A ceremony was held late Monday evening to celebrate the shedding of the Caribbean island’s colonial bonds almost 400 years after British ships arrived, according to The Associated Press.

Prince Charles as well as pop star Rihanna, who was born in Barbados, were reportedly in attendance.

“We the people must give Republic Barbados its spirit and its substance,” Sandra Mason, the island’s first president, said during the event, according to Reuters. “We must shape its future. We are each other’s and our nation’s keepers. We the people are Barbados.”

Queen Elizabeth shared her best wishes for Barbados’s new chapter, Reuters noted.

“I send you and all Barbadians my warmest good wishes for your happiness, peace and prosperity in the future,” she reportedly said in a message to Mason.

Charles also weighed in, adding that the creation of the new republic offers the island “a new beginning.”

“From the darkest days of our past and the appalling atrocity of slavery which forever stains our history, people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude,” he said, according to Reuters.

Mason was sworn in as president just before dawn on Tuesday as the island celebrated with fireworks, 100 steel pan players, singers, dancers and poets, the AP noted.

“As cautioned by our first prime minister … we ought no longer to be found loitering on colonial premises,” Mason said. “We must seek to redefine our definition of self, of state, and the Barbados brand, in a more complex, fractured and turbulent world. … Our country and people must dream big dreams and fight to realize them.” 

Tags Barbados Queen Elizabeth

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