Sandra Mason was elected late on Wednesday by a two-thirds vote of a joint session of the nation’s Home of Meeting and Senate. In an announcement, the federal government referred to as her appointment a milestone on its “street to republic.”
A former British colony that gained independence in 1966, the nation of slightly below 300,000 had lengthy maintained ties with the UK’s monarchy.
However many Barbadians have lengthy agitated to take away the Queen’s standing — and with it, the lingering symbolic presence of imperialism over its governance. A number of leaders this century have proposed that the nation turn out to be a republic.
That may lastly occur on November 30, the nation’s fifty fifth anniversary of independence from Britain, when Mason will probably be sworn in.
A former jurist who has been governor-general of the island since 2018, Mason was additionally the primary lady to serve on the Barbados Court docket of Appeals.
Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley referred to as the election of a president “a seminal second” within the nation’s journey.
“We now have simply elected from amongst us a girl who’s uniquely and passionately Barbadian, doesn’t faux to be the rest (and) displays the values of who we’re,” Mottley mentioned after Mason’s election.
A number of international locations dropped the Queen as head of state within the years after they gained independence, with Mauritius the final to take action, in 1992. That makes Barbados the primary nation in practically three many years to drop the monarch.
The Queen continues to be head of state in additional than a dozen different international locations that have been previously underneath British rule, together with Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Jamaica.
Wazim Mowla of the Atlantic Council suppose tank advised Reuters the election may gain advantage Barbados each at dwelling and overseas.
The transfer makes Barbados, a small creating nation, a extra legit participant in international politics, Mowla mentioned, however might additionally function a “unifying and nationalistic transfer” that will profit its present management at dwelling.
“Different Caribbean leaders and their residents will probably reward the transfer, however I do not anticipate others to observe swimsuit,” Mowla added. “This transfer will at all times be thought of solely whether it is in the perfect curiosity of every nation.”
Mottley mentioned the nation’s determination to turn out to be a republic was not a condemnation of its British previous.
“We sit up for persevering with the connection with the British monarch,” she mentioned.