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Barbados becomes world’s newest republic Barbados
Image: UNI

Barbados becomes world’s newest republic

India Blooms News Service | @indiablooms | 30 Nov 2021, 05:44 pm

Bridgetown/UNI: Barbados has become the world's newest republic -- cutting its last remaining colonial bonds after nearly 400 years.

The Caribbean island nation has removed Queen Elizabeth II as head of state and instated Dame Sandra Mason, as its first-ever President.

Marking the historic transition, the Royal Standard flag representing the queen was lowered during the ceremony on Monday evening and the new Presidential Standard raised in its place.

With the new development, the island nation with 3,00,000 population has ended Britain's centuries of influence, including more than 200 years when the island was a hub for the transatlantic slave trade.

Prince Charles, heir to the British throne and Barbadian singer Rihanna attended the event, which coincided with the country's 55th anniversary of independence.

Queen's own former representative, Governor-General Sandra Mason was sworn in as President by the Chief Justice, reports CNN.

In her first address as president, Mason said, "Possessing a clear sense of who we are, and what we are capable of achieving, in the year 2021, we now turn our vessel's bow towards the new republic. We do this so that we may seize the full substance of our sovereignty."

"For decades, we have had discourse and debate about the transition of Barbados to a republic. Today, debate and discourse have become action. Today, we set our compass a new direction," she added.

Acknowledging the "appalling atrocity of slavery", Prince Charles said, "From the darkest days of our past, and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our history, the people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude. Emancipation, self-government and Independence were your way-points. Freedom, justice and self-determination have been your guides.”

"Your long journey has brought you to this moment, not as your destination, but as a vantage point from which to survey a new horizon."

According to a BBC report, the Queen sent the country her "warmest good wishes" for "happiness, peace and prosperity in the future" and said the nation holds a "special place" in her heart.