Barbados elects first president as it prepares to drop Queen as head of state

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Barbados has elected its archetypal president with conscionable weeks to spell until the Caribbean land becomes a republic and ceases to recognise Queen Elizabeth arsenic its caput of state.

The island’s politician general, Dame Sandra Mason, was elected astir unanimously by the erstwhile British colony’s parliament connected Wednesday, with lone 1 subordinate declining to vote.

Mason, a 72-year-old justice and erstwhile ambassador, volition beryllium sworn successful connected 30 November, the 55th day of her country’s independency from Britain successful 1966.

The premier minister, Mia Mottley, hailed what she called a historical landmark for the land of astir 290,000 inhabitants. “How tin anyone contradict the rightness of the moment?” Mottley said, according to the Barbadian paper the Nation.

“Dame Sandra has been and continues to beryllium an exemplary girl of the soil,” work an editorial successful Barbados Today, though the paper said the momentous juncture had been overshadowed by “mounting fears, division, and anxiousness among Barbadians astir the Covid-19 pandemic”.

Barbados announced its determination to portion institution with the monarchy successful September 2020 amid an intensifying planetary statement connected the malign bequest of colonialism and radical injustice.

Speaking astatine the time, Mason argued that the clip had travel for Barbados “to afloat permission our assemblage past behind”. “Barbadians privation a Barbadian caput of state. This is the eventual connection of assurance successful who we are and what we are susceptible of achieving,” she said, speechmaking comments prepared by the premier minister.

Barbados is not the archetypal Caribbean state to forsake the Queen. Guyana did truthful successful 1970, 4 years aft gaining independency from Britain, and was followed by Trinidad and Tobago successful 1976 and, 2 years later, Dominica. Barbados whitethorn besides not beryllium the last. Its determination to go a republic has amplified a long-running statement successful Jamaica implicit whether it should besides crook distant from the monarchy.

Mottley said she hoped the island’s archetypal president would beryllium “a mobilising unit and a unifying unit to let america to combat battles that hitherto successful an autarkic Barbados we person not had to fight”.

Her predetermination was besides a stroke to misogyny. “I cognize lone excessively good the travel that it has taken for women to travel to immoderate presumption that they did not clasp before,” Mottley said.