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Barbados elects first president, to replace British Queen

Barbados elects first president, to replace British Queen
Queen Elizabeth II will cease to be the head of state in Barbados when the island becomes a republic and Sandra Mason is sworn in as president - Copyright Pakistan Foreign Office/AFP -
Queen Elizabeth II will cease to be the head of state in Barbados when the island becomes a republic and Sandra Mason is sworn in as president - Copyright Pakistan Foreign Office/AFP -

Barbados has elected its first president, a key step in preparations to become a republic and remove Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II as head of state of the Caribbean island.

Sandra Mason, the current governor-general, is set to be sworn in as president on November 30, the country’s 55th anniversary of independence from Britain.

Calling the parliamentary vote a “historic milestone on the road to the Republic,” the Barbadian government tweeted that its House and Senate had elected Mason, 72, on Wednesday.

In September 2020, Mason announced the break with Britain, saying “the time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind.”

“Having attained Independence over half a century ago, our country can be in no doubt about its capacity for self-governance,” she said.

When asked about the plans last year, a Buckingham Palace spokesman said it was “a matter for the government and people of  Barbados.”

Barbados — which has a population of just under 300,000 — was claimed by the British in 1625. It has sometimes been called “Little England” for its loyalty to British customs.

It is relatively prosperous, and a popular tourist destination: prior to the Covid-19 pandemic, more than a million tourists visited its idyllic beaches and crystalline waters each year.

The Caribbean’s easternmost island is also well-known as the birthplace of superstar singer Rihanna, who is a Barbadian ambassador tasked with promoting education, tourism and investment.

Written By

With 2,400 staff representing 100 different nationalities, AFP covers the world as a leading global news agency. AFP provides fast, comprehensive and verified coverage of the issues affecting our daily lives.

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