Bridgetown: Barbados, an eastern Caribbean island, is ready to change its political system into a republic as Sandra Mason, the country’s governor-general, will be sworn in as the first-ever elected president of the nation removing Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state, media reported.
The former British colony, which became an independent island in 1966, had revived its plan to become a republic last September. With this, Queen Elizabeth would see one less realm.
Sandra Mason was also elected by the Barbadian parliament last month.
Mason, a 73-year-old former jurist, will take oath as the first-ever president of the island nation, with just under 300,000 population, at a ceremony late on Monday night, CNN reported.
“The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind,” she was quoted as saying.
People who will be attending the festivities include Prince Charles, heir to the British throne and future head of the Commonwealth, a 54-member organisation of mostly former British territories.
He accepted an invitation from Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley to be a guest of honour at the transition celebrations, according to Clarence House.
Guy Hewitt, who served as Barbados High Commissioner to the United Kingdom between 2014 and 2018. said, “Becoming a republic is a coming of age”.
“I make the analogy to when a child grows up and gets their own house, gets their own mortgage, gives their parents back the keys because it says we are moving on,” he said.
Barbados was Britain’s oldest colony, settled in 1627, and “governed in an unbroken way by the English Crown to 1966,” according to Richard Drayton, professor of imperial and global history at Kings College London.
The changeover has been witnessed nearly after 400 years since the first English ship arrived on the most easterly of the Caribbean islands.
Mauritius was the last nation to become a republic in 1992. Barbados still intends to stay part of the Commonwealth.