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Barbados Drops the Queen and Becomes a Republic

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In the early hours of Tuesday, at a ceremony attended by tons of of masked officers, a prince and at the least one pop star, the Caribbean island of Barbados turned a republic, slicing ties with Queen Elizabeth II and eliminating the final main vestige of its colonial previous.

The nation swore in its first president, Sandra Mason, a former governor normal who had been appointed by the queen. A 21-gun salute rang out as the nationwide anthem performed. The pink, yellow and navy blue royal flag was lowered — precisely 55 years after the nation gained independence from Britain.

“Today, debate and discourse have become action,” Ms. Mason, 72, instructed the onlookers gathered in the capital, Bridgetown. “Today, we set our compass to a new direction.”

Ms. Mason obtained a majority vote in Parliament in October to tackle the position. In a speech afterward, Prime Minister Mia Mottley stated: “We believe that the time has come for us to claim our full destiny. It is a woman of the soil to whom this honor is being given.”

The island nation, a democracy of about 300,000 individuals, introduced in September that it will take away Queen Elizabeth as head of state, the newest Caribbean island to take action. It joined Guyana, which gained independence in 1966 and turned a republic in 1970; Trinidad and Tobago, which turned unbiased in 1962 and a republic in 1976; and Dominica, which gained full independence as a republic in 1978.

Australia, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea are amongst the nations that also name the queen their head of state. Barbados will stay a part of the Commonwealth, a voluntary affiliation of 54 international locations with roots in the British Empire.

On Tuesday, hundreds celebrated throughout Barbados as practically 400 years of British rule ended.

In the viewers to witness the uncoupling in Bridgetown was a consultant of Britain: Prince Charles, Elizabeth’s eldest son and inheritor. He obtained the Order of Freedom of Barbados.

In a speech, Charles delivered a message from his mom, conveying the “warmest good wishes.” He additionally congratulated Barbadians and stated, “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.”

“Tonight you write the next chapter of your nation’s story,” he added. “You are the guardians of your heritage.”

Also amongst the crowd was the international pop star Rihanna. During the ceremony, the singer, who was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty in Barbados, was declared a nationwide hero.

She obtained the honor, Prime Minister Mottley stated, for commanding “the imagination of the world” together with her excellence, creativity, self-discipline and, “above all else, her extraordinary commitment to the land of her birth.”

“May you continue to shine like a diamond,” Ms. Mottley added.