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Barbados Bids Cheerio to UK Rule
News Bytes 12/1/2021 9 Comments

Yesterday, Barbados shed another remnant of its history of colonization—and some say exploitation of enslaved peoples. With great fanfare, the island nation stopped pledging allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II and became a republic for the first time in history.

Barbados became independent from the United Kingdom in November 1966. That was more than three centuries after English settlers arrived and turned the island into a wealthy sugar colony—thanks to the labor of hundreds of thousands of enslaved African people.

Last month, the Barbados Parliament elected its first-ever president in a two-thirds majority vote. Barbados Governor General Sandra Mason was sworn in before dawn yesterday as the island marked its 55th independence from Britain.

Mason is an attorney and judge who also has served as ambassador to Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, and Brazil. She will help Prime Minister Mia Mottley lead the wealthy Caribbean island of more than 300,000 people that is financially dependent on tourism, manufacturing, and finance.

Several leaders and dignitaries, including Great Britain’s Prince Charles, attended the ceremony. Officials held the event in National Heroes Square. Last year, officials there removed the statue of a well-known British lord amid a worldwide push to erase symbols of oppression.

Fireworks peppered the sky at midnight as Barbados officially became a republic. Screens set up across the island allowed people to watch the event that featured an orchestra with more than 100 steel pan players and numerous artists. It was also broadcast online. The occasion prompted a flurry of excited messages from Barbadians living in the United States, Canada, and beyond.

“Happy Independence Day and freedom to all,” wrote one viewer.

Barbados’ new status is certainly exciting for those who have worked long and hard for recognition. The Bible says, “Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.” (2 Corinthians 3:17) That means Christians can be content and joyful in whatever state they find themselves!

Barbados did not need permission from the United Kingdom to become a republic. Still, it’s an event that the Caribbean has not experienced since the 1970s. That’s when Guyana, Dominica, and Trinidad and Tobago became republics.

In recent decades, the island had begun distancing itself from its colonial past. In 2005, Barbados dropped the London-based Privy Council and chose the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice as its final court of appeal. Then in 2008, it proposed a referendum on the issue of becoming a republic. But the vote was pushed back indefinitely.

Last year, Barbados announced plans to stop being a constitutional monarchy and removed a statue of British Vice-Admiral Horatio Nelson from National Heroes Square.

Barbados’ flag, coat of arms, and national anthem will remain the same. However, certain references will change, according to Suleiman Bulbulia, a columnist for the Barbados Today newspaper. He writes that the terms “royal” and “crown” will no longer be used, so the Royal Barbados Police Force will become the Barbados Police Service and “crown lands” will become “state lands.”

“It is the beginning of a new era,” Bulbulia says. “Any Barbadian can aspire now to be our Head of State.”

(Barbados’ new President Sandra Mason, center right, awards Prince Charles with the Order of Freedom of Barbados during the presidential inauguration ceremony in Bridgetown, Barbados, on November 30, 2021. AP/David McD Crichlow)

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Most recent comments

1st comment

That's exciting!! I hope it works well for them!

2nd Comment

Good for them! I hope they don't screw it up!

Me too!

Me too!

This is Mylee

My cousins were missionaries in Barbados !!!

Neat!

Neat!
Did y'all know that today several years ago (I don't want to do the math XD) in 1955 Rosa Parks didn't give her bus seat up and was arrested on this day!?

Mhm.

Mhm.

@ Kiara

Cool!

But wait did this happen on

But wait did this happen on the 30th Nov or 1st Dec?

@Mirela

Nov. 30th
:)

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