Barbados is about to become the world’s newest republic, as they dropped the British monarchy and replace Queen Elizabeth II with their current representative, Governor-General Sandra Mason, this week.
The swearing-in ceremony will take place from Monday evening till Tuesday morning. The inauguration of Sandra Mason as the first female president, which will be attended by prince Charles will involve Military parades and celebration.
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The start of a new era has sparked debate among Barbados’ 285,000 residents about Britain’s decades of influence, which included more than 200 years of slavery until 1834 and the country’s eventual independence in 1966.
Barbados elected Mason as its first president in October, a year after Prime Minister Mia Mottley said the country would “completely” leave its colonial heritage.
“As a young girl, when I heard about the queen, I would be really excited,” said Sharon Bellamy-Thompson, 50, a fish vendor in the capital Bridgetown who remembers being about eight and seeing the monarch on a visit.
“As I grow older and older, I started to wonder what this queen really means for me and for my nation. It didn’t make any sense,” she said. “Having a female Barbadian president will be great.”