In the presence of Britain’s Crown Prince, Prince Charles, Justice Sandra Mason was sworn in as the first female president and new head of state of Barbados on Tuesday evening. Shortly after midnight (local time), Mason is shot and parades by civil servants at National Heroes Square in Bridgetown.
There was no statue of British Admiral Horatio Nelson, who stood there for 200 years – even a year ago. Amid protests against racism and colonialism around the world, the government removed the statue from the central square where the country’s heroes will be honored. “When we don’t know who we are; “If we are not sure what we want to fight for, then we are doomed to be exploited and colonized again,” Prime Minister Mia Motley said.
Newly built office
The separation from the Crown was announced two months ago. “It is time to leave our colonial past completely behind,” Motley said in his so-called annual Throne Address. Mason read the title in her previous role as governor-general of the island nation—that is, the Queen’s actress. In October, the Parliament of Barbados elected the 72-year-old to the newly created position of president. Motley is still the head of government.
Buckingham Palace reacted cautiously: the matter was “a matter of the government and people of the Commonwealth,” as it put it in September 2020. Prince Charles, who represented his 95-year-old mother in Barbados, emphasized there: Even if some things change, some things will remain. As it is – like ‘close partnership and trust’ and shared values. In a message from the Queen on Tuesday night, it was said that the Queen congratulated the people of Barbados.
Rihanna becomes a national hero
Pop star Rihanna was at the party. Motley announced that the Barbadian singer, who is also the special ambassador for her country, would be accepted into the rank of National Hero.
The Commonwealth of Nations is a loose association of nations that arose out of former British colonies. At the head of the organization stands Queen Elizabeth II Barbados gained independence from Great Britain on November 30, 1966, but the Queen has remained at the head of the state until now. More recently in 1992, Mauritius, a member of the Commonwealth, broke away from the monarchy.
“The most inhumane New Zealand society”
The first English settlers came to Barbados 394 years ago. They soon enriched themselves by planting sugar through African slaves. In his 2016 book The First Society of Black Slaves, Barbadian historian Hilary Pickles described the island between 1636 and 1876 as “the most violent, brutal, and racially inhuman society of modern times.” Prince Charles, in his speech, spoke of the “horrific atrocity of slavery that has forever tainted our history”.
Because of this date, there are demands for compensation and a vote against the visit of Prince Charles in Barbados, as activist Solomon Belbolia wrote on Monday in the British newspaper “The Guardian”. At the same time, the country of 300,000 people is called “Little England” due to the strong influence of British culture. “Of course Barbados will maintain a close relationship with the United Kingdom,” Polpolia said. But this is a new era. As for ‘Little England’, these times may require a new nickname. (SDA)
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