Barbados has become a republic, cutting its centuries-old bond with the British monarchy. Dame Sandra Mason, the island’s governor-general has replaced Queen Elizabeth II as Barbados’ first president.
Analysts say the move will change the way the world views the Caribbean country, giving it a self-identity and control over its destiny. In addition, there will be no need for the local government to seek the queen’s permission for appointing ambassadors and other diplomats.
Though it became independent in 1966, Barbados had chosen to maintain ties with the British crown. But anger with the British grew as the country saw no vaccines coming from London when its economy slid into crisis following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Barbados will be the fourth Caribbean country to become a republic since 1970 after Guyana, Dominica, and Trinidad & Tobago. British sometimes lovingly called it “Little England”, but the Caribbean country was a hub for slave trade during the colonial era.
Barbados is a parliamentary democracy, meaning here the president’s role is largely symbolic.
Tourism is the main source of income for the Caribbean country. Prior to the pandemic, more than a million foreign tourists visited the country every year.