Barbados stopped depending on United Kingdom as of this Monday night and became officially in a republic. In an intimate ceremony that was not open to the public, Sandra Mason took over as the first president in the history of Barbados.
The 72-year-old lawyer had been elected on October 21 past as governor general of the country, in what were the first presidential elections in the history of Barbados, which since 1966 has been independent from the United Kingdom.
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Mason was sworn in at midnight Monday in the nation’s capital, Bridgetown, in an official ceremony in which he also the royal standard was replaced by the presidential flag and it was ratified that Barbados will continue to be a member of the Commonwealth organization.
In the historic transition from monarchy to republic, the Prince carlos -the eldest son of Elizabeth II and heir to the British crown-, and the singer Rihanna, what was declared a “national heroine” from the country.
Rihanna, “national hero” of Barbados
Minutes after becoming a republic, the government of Barbados officially declared “National heroine” to its most famous citizen, the singer Rihanna, who had already been awarded the title of extraordinary ambassador and plenipotentiary.
The prime minister Mia Mottley was in charge of naming Rihanna as a national heroine. “On behalf of a grateful nation and an even prouder people, we honor you with the designation of Barbados National Hero, Ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty, “he said.
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According to the official statement, Rihanna was distinguished for her great work in instilling “imagination to the world through the pursuit of excellence with her creativity, her discipline and, above all, his extraordinary commitment to his homeland ”.
The singer of “Umbrella” thus joins a select group of others ten fellow citizens designated national heroes of Barbados.
The controversial presence of Prince Charles in the transition of Barbados
Various voices in Barbados criticized the island’s prime minister for inviting Prince Charles to Mason’s inauguration, and that awarded him the Barbados Freedom Order, the highest national honor.
Kristina Hinds, a professor of international relations at the University of the West Indies in that country, was one of the people who declared very harshly about the participation of the royalty of the United Kingdom.
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“The British royal family is a source of exploitation in this region and, so far, they have not offered a formal apology nor any type of reparation for the damages suffered, “Hinds said after the transition.
In addition, Barbados will continue to be member of the organization of the Commonwealth, as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson noted in a statement on Monday. “We will continue to be unconditional friends and allies, tapping into the enduring affinities and connections between our peoples and the Commonwealth’s special bond, ”Johnson wrote.