Bridgetown: Barbados is now officially declared as a republic state now after being under the rule of the Queen for almost around 400 years, which means that Queen Elizabeth II would no longer be the islands’ ‘head of State’.
As the island became a republic, its national anthem was played, and a 21 gun salute fired over a crowded Heroes Square. A final salute was presented to the British government, and the Royal Standard flag was lowered and replaced, depicting the island as a republic.
With this, Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as the first-ever President of the newest republic in the world.
The Prince of Wales was also present at the republic ceremony, who, during his speech, acknowledged the “appalling atrocity of slavery” the island has gone through in the past years, adding that, “The creation of this republic offers a new beginning”.
The islands’ first President, while addressing the people, cited, “We the people must give Republic Barbados its spirit and its substance. We must shape its future. We are each other’s and our nation’s keepers. We, the people are Barbados”.
“Vessel Republic Barbados – has set sail on her maiden voyage. May she weather all storms and land our country and citizens safe on the horizons and shores which are ahead of us,” she further added.
The occasion was celebrated with gleaming performances of Barbados dance and music.
At the ceremony, the Barbadian singer – Rihanna was honoured with the title of ‘national hero’ by Prime Minister Mia Mottley, citing, “May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honour to your nation”.
On the other hand, Prime Minister Mottley described the moment as ‘seminal’, quoting which will leave the colonial past of the Caribbean island behind while stepping into a new era.
The island gained Independence in the year 1966, and the previous year made the announcement of removing Queen as its head and becoming a republic.