Marking its 55th Independence Barbados celebrated as it also marked the island’s transition from a Commonwealth realm to a parliamentary Republic. And Prince Charles, the future head of the Commonwealth, was in the country to witness the changing of the guard.
Received by Dame Sandra Mason in the last hours of her role as viceroy of Queen Elizabeth, he was also welcomed by Prime Minister Mia Mottley, Foreign Minister Dr Jerome Walcott, Minister of Maritime Affairs Kirk Humphrey and other senior Government officials.
The Prince of Wales witnessed the inauguration of Dame Sandra Mason as the island’s first President of Barbados in a ceremony that declared the world’s newest republic and severs almost 400-year ties to the British Crown. He also attended the National Honours Ceremony at Golden Square, where he and President Mason will receive the country’s highest honour, the Order of Freedom of Barbados.
Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister who has spearheaded the transition, wrote in a speech for Dame Mason last year: “The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind. Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state. This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving.”
Republicanism has been rumbling for some time in Barbados. Ms. Mottley described it as a chance to assert itself and show greater self-confidence. "It was time to fully leave our colonial past behind," she said.
This is the first time that a realm has removed the Queen as head of state in nearly 30 years: in 1992, an Indian Ocean island nation of Mauritius became a republic but remained in the Commonwealth – as Barbados will. Barbados’s move could prompt a domino effect, with other nations, particularly those in the Caribbean, replacing The Queen.
During the ceremony, Bajan born and bred Rihanna was made the 11th National Hero of Barbados and the second living hero after Sir Gary Sobers, who was also in attendance at the ceremony. Sir Gary Sobers is someone who The Phoenix met up with during a Friends and Family visit to Barbados in 2019, and were welcomed into his home.
Sir Gary was the perfect host, regailing us with stories of his cricketing prowess, and also about his love of Barbados and the Commonwealth, feelings he echoed in his recent interview with The Telegraph.
In what was a great celebration for many today, Sir Sobers felt differently about parting ways from the Queen telling the paper “It will be very sad for a lot of us.”
“The Queen always turned up at Lord’s to watch the West Indies. I was very fortunate because on the occasions when they came to watch, I somehow performed,” he said.
“It was really wonderful for me to be associated with the Queen, the Duke and even Prince Charles. I knew him quite well too.”
You went into his home, you need to show this off with the daily on Barbadoes becoming a republic.
You were with one of their National heroes the other being Rihanna.
Show it off
As Phoenix caught up with National hero etc etc where assistant editor Daniel Riley was able to visit his home in a very personal situation
Now as the National hero of Barbadoes he had taken on his role and spoke of what it means to him and the people of Barbadoes etc