Barbados, a British colony for more than 300 years, has elected its first ever president as it prepares to transform itself in to a republic by removing Queen Elizabeth as head of state.
Dame Sandra Mason, 72, will be sworn in on 30 November as president of Barbados, which will mark the country's 55th anniversary of independence from Britain.
Earlier this Wednesday, Dame Sandra Mason was elected by a two-thirds vote of a joint session of the country’s House of Assembly and Senate, a milestone, the government said in a statement, on its “road to republic”.
Dame Sandra Mason has been serving as the governor-general since 2018. The Governor-General is appointed by the Queen on the advice of the Prime Minister of Barbados.
Barbados is among the nine Caribbean countries in which the queen fills that role of head of state. Guyana scrapped it in 1970, less than four years after gaining independence from Britain. Trinidad and Tobago followed suit in 1976 and Dominica in 1978. Jamaica is one big Caribbean nation that is still not moved to a republican form of government even though country's prime minister, Andrew Holness, proposed a referendum before his election in 2016.
British Queen also serves as the head of state of Australia, Canada, New Zealand and three Pacific islands.
In 1998, a constitutional commission recommended that the country become a republic. Successive governments promised but successive governments have dithered on making the decision. In 2020, current government headed by Prime Minister Mia Mottley finally decided to dump the colonial legacy and transform the country in to a republic.
A former British colony that gained independence in 1966, Barbados is one of the more populous and prosperous Caribbean islands. It has long maintained ties with the British monarchy but calls for full sovereignty and homegrown leadership have risen in recent years.,
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