BARBADOS becomes the world's newest Republic, Rihanna National Heroine

BARBADOS becomes the world's newest Republic, Rihanna National Heroine

BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, November 30, 2021 - After four centuries of colonization, at midnight Tuesday November 29,  Barbados transitioned from a Commonwealth country to become an independent parliamentary republic with Her Excellency Dame Sandra Mason, being sworn in as the republic’s first president.

At midnight, the country was officially declared a republic and three minutes later,She was installed president of Barbados by Chief Justice Patterson Cheltenham and conferred the Order of Freedom of Barbados. She replaced Queen Elizabeth as Head of State 55 years after becoming independent. 

Dame Sandra Mason was installed president of Barbados by Chief Justice Patterson Cheltenham and conferred the Order of Freedom of Barbados.Dame Sandra Mason was installed president of Barbados by Chief Justice Patterson Cheltenham and conferred the Order of Freedom of Barbados.“I, Sandra Prunella Mason, do swear that I will be faithful and bear true allegiance to Barbados according to law, so help me God,” President Mason declared, as she recited the oath of office to become the Republic’s first President.

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley, Chief Justice Cheltenham,  Attorney General Dale Marshall, Barbados Defence Force Chief of Staff Commodore Errington Shurland, and Commissioner of Police Richard Boyce, all took the newly rewritten oath of allegiance to Barbados “according to law”, instead of to “Queen, her heirs and successors”.

In her first address to the republic, President Mason outlined the decades of debate as to whether that final leap to complete republican statehood should have been taken.

“Since independence, our heroes and our humble citizens, our crews and passengers have built international reputations, anchored in characteristics, our national values, our stability, and our successes, drawing on the lessons of those intervening years, possessing a clear sense of who we are and what we are capable of achieving. In the year 2021, we now turn our vessels bow towards the new republic. We do this so that we may seize the full substance of our sovereignty,” the newly installed president of Barbados said in her inaugural address.

 Prince Charles was conferred the Order of Freedom of Barbados by President Sandra Mason Prince Charles was conferred the Order of Freedom of Barbados by President Sandra MasonPrince Charles, was the guest of honour for the historic celebration and was cast in the symbolic role of an outgoing Head of State. Heir to the British throne and future head of the 54 nation Commonwealth, he was on hand to  witness the transition of another member of the realm to complete independence. Barbados will however remain a member of the Commonwealth.

The prince praised the people of Barbados for forging their own path, and urged Barbadians to make “freedom, justice and self-determination to be their guides’’ pledging the United Kingdom’s dedication to “close and trusted partnership”.

Referring to the “appalling atrocities of slavery” which “forever stain” the joint history of the British and Barbadians, the Prince of Wales noted that “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,” he said. “Madam President, as your constitutional status changes, it is important to me that I should join you to reaffirm those things that do not change.”

“Tonight, you write the next chapter of your nation’s story, adding to the treasury of past achievements, collective enterprise and personal courage, which already fills its pages. Yours is a story in which every Barbadian, young and old can take the greatest pride, inspired by what has come before them and confident about what lies ahead. As we will sing tonight, you are the guardians of your heritage, firm craftsmen of your fate,” The Prince concluded.

One of the highlights of the night's activities was the grand announcement by Prime Minister Mottley that world-renowned Barbadian superstar singer, actress, fashion designer and businesswoman, Ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty has been added to the pantheon of National Heroes of Barbados.

At 33 and the world’s richest female musician, and recognised around the globe as Riri, will join the world’s greatest cricket allrounder, the Right Excellent Garfield Sobers, 85, as the only living national heroes of Barbados.

Mottley declared that it was her government’s judgement that it was appropriate to send a strong signal to the world by making Rihanna a National Heroine.

In 1625 Barbados was declared a possession of the British Crown in the name of King James I, and  after 396 years, through the epochs of colonisation, slavery, emancipation, internal self-government, federation and finally, Independence Barbados has finally become a Republic.

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