Barbados officially & painlessly overthrew Queen Elizabeth as their head of state
In recent years, Queen Elizabeth’s stranglehold on the “British empire” has decreased severely. QEII has always prioritized the Commonwealth more than any other British connection, and it was well-documented around the Brexit vote that the Queen was pro-Brexit because she believed that the UK should focus more on strengthening its ties to Commonwealth nations. Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but in the wake of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex’s exit, there was a lot of grumbling from commonwealth nations. Barbados announced in September 2020 that they were leaving the commonwealth, becoming a republic and overthrowing QEII as their head of state. Last week, everything became official, and Dame Sandra Mason became Barbados’ first elected president.
Barbados has its first-ever president elect. Dame Sandra Mason, 72, was elected when she won a two-thirds vote during a joint session of the Caribbean nation’s House of Assembly and Senate on Wednesday.
Mason, who is the current governor-general of Barbados, will be sworn in Nov. 30 on the 55th anniversary of Barbados’ independence from Britain. At that time, Mason will replace Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state in the nation’s process of becoming a republic, CNN reports.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley said the election of a president was a “seminal moment,” according to Sky News. “We have just elected from among us a woman who is uniquely and passionately Barbadian, does not pretend to be anything else [and] reflects the values of who we are.”
Mason has worked as a schoolteacher, a magistrate, the ambassador to Venezuela, Chile, Colombia and Brazil and she was the first female Court of Appeal judge of the Supreme Court of Barbados, according to her official bio. She served as registrar of the Supreme Court until 2005.
In 2018, she became governor-general, an executive position appointed by the Queen based on the prime minister’s recommendation.
“With such an outstanding career, Dame Sandra also takes an avid interest in reading, playing [S]crabble, watching cricket and travelling,” according to her bio. “However, her greatest achievement is being the mother of son Matthew, who is also an Attorney-at-Law.”
Barbados, a former British colony with a population of nearly 300,000, announced plans to become a republic last year. Its independence from Britain dates to 1966. The Queen remains head of state for 15 other sovereign countries that were previously under British rule, including Australia, New Zealand and Canada. The last country to replace her as its figurehead was Mauritius in 1992, 24 years after its independence. Barbados has been a favorite stop for royals through the years, with the Queen visiting the island multiple times since she first set foot on its soil in 1966, just as it was securing independence.
Mottley said of her country’s historic step away from Britain and the Queen, “We look forward to continuing the relationship with the British monarch.”
This does have a similar vibe to the Sussexit, honestly. The vibe of “getting out while the getting is good.” People are starting to make post-monarchy plans both personally and nationally. While Barbados will likely do and say things to “retain historic ties to Britain,” this is a wonderful example of a country taking the initiative in a painless, bloodless way to seek true independence from Isla de Saltines. When will Australia? When will New Zealand? When will Kenya? When will Canada? And when will India?
Photos courtesy of Avalon Red.
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