If “don’t talk about it, be about it” was a country, it would be Barbados. In September 2020, the island nation announced its intention to remove Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state. Known to some as “Little England,” Barbados’ parliament voted to make the move official in September 2021.
Now, Barbados is moving full steam ahead with plans to install its current Governor-General Dame Sandra Mason as the first president of the Republic of Barbados on Nov. 30. Mason was nominated by Barbados current Prime Minister Mia Mottley, WION reported.
“We believe that she is a fitting nomination for the post of being the first president of Barbados to be elected by this parliament of Barbados,” Mottley said during a meeting.
In a separate interview with ABC Australia, Mottley said it was time they moved forward. “We have been independent for almost 54 years this November and the truth is that the time has come for us to continue to make decisions fully on our own.”
While Barbados has been independent since 1966, it was among 16 nations that still recognized the queen as their sovereign ruler, WTOP News reported. The plan to remove Elizabeth to pave the way for a Barbadian head of state isn’t a new concept. It has been in the works for 20 years, according to Mottley.
“It is important to us that we give confidence to our young people, to that little boy, that little girl, to believe that they can become and aspire … to become the head of state of their own country,” Mottley said.
Mottley confirmed they didn’t arrive at the decision lightly and it is not due to any tension with the monarchy.
“It’s not a divisive decision. It’s not a decision that is reflective of any break with the monarchy or any disrespect. In fact its quite the opposite,” Mottley said. “We have an excellent relationship with the United Kingdom, with the royal family and we believe that the time has just come for us to boost the confidence of our people.”
Politicians and leaders in Jamaica are calling for their nation to follow Barabados’ lead. Jamaica’s opposition leader Mark Golding is among them, according to the Independent.
“Jamaica has produced leaders like our revered national heroes who played their part in getting us to where we are now as a nation. Surely, we owe it to these heroes to complete the circle of our independence so that all our symbols and institutions are legitimately and proudly our own,” Golding said in March.
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Twitter users expressed support and skepticism over the move. “I never thought the usually calm and level-headed Bajans will do something as rash as this. Being a ‘republic’ will not enhance the life of single Bajan, on the contrary it might at least temporarily slow investment and even affect tourism. But … ,” Twitter user @Eslanderkow wrote.
“Well done Barbados. Good to see that in a vote, the majority of your people didn’t shite themselves. More power to you. Best of luck. Not that you need it. The worst of your luck is now behind you,” @R4tser tweeted.
“I wish rest of the Caribbean and other countries would do this,” @Shontel32810254 wrote.
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