The land of Barbados became the latest to chopped ties with the British monarchy and became the world’s newest republic connected Monday during a handover ceremony.
Dame Sandra Mason was sworn successful arsenic the Caribbean land nation’s caller president by its main justness earlier taking an oath of allegiance to Barbados.
“Republic Barbados has acceptable sail connected her maiden voyage,” Mason said successful an inauguration speech, adding that Barbados present needs to navigate a “complex, fractured, and turbulent world.” She added, “Our state indispensable imagination large dreams and combat to recognize them.”
Barbados announced its program to go a afloat autarkic republic successful 2020, but it volition enactment wrong the Commonwealth, formerly known arsenic the British Commonwealth. Until Monday, the state had been ruled for 396 years nether the British monarchy.
The lawsuit Monday was held 55 years to the time since Barbados gained independency but kept the British monarch successful a ceremonial role. Slavery was abolished successful 1834, though Barbadian activists and Prince Charles connected Monday inactive continued to invoke it.
“What we are saying is, ‘This is it,’” said the Rev. Charles Morris, an Anglican priest. “We privation to take our ain caput of state, symbolic oregon not.”
During the ceremony, Barbadian vocalist Rihanna—who was successful attendance—was declared a nationalist hero. “May you proceed to radiance similar a diamond and bring grant to your nation,” Prime Minister Mia Mottley told the personage singer.
Barbados casts the removal of Queen Elizabeth II, who is inactive the monarch of 15 different realms including the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada, and Jamaica, arsenic a mode to interruption from its assemblage history.
The past clip the queen was removed arsenic caput of authorities was successful 1992 erstwhile the Indian Ocean land of Mauritius proclaimed itself a republic.
With a colonisation of astir 280,000 people, Barbados is among the much populated and prosperous Caribbean nations. The Barbados system antecedently was heavy reliant connected exporting sweetener but, successful caller years, has diversified and present relies much connected tourism, although it has been hard-hit during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Reports accidental that unemployment successful the state is astir 16 percent, up from astir 9 percent successful caller years.
“I cognize it is thing that we were going towards for a precise agelong time, but I deliberation it came astatine a clip which is not needfully the champion clip considering our economical concern and the COVID situation,” said 27-year-old bureau manager Nikita Stuart successful an interrogation with AFP.
Reuters contributed to this report.