By: Sophia Powell
For more than 400 years Barbados has been a British colony with the Queen of England as its head of state. They became independent from the United Kingdom in 1966. Yesterday the island held an overnight ceremony in the capital of Bridgetown and is now considered a republic. Dame Sandra Mason who has been the islands governor since 2018 was sworn in as president by majority vote of parliament. Although Barbados doesn’t have the queen as their head of state anymore they are still a member of the Commonwealth Realm and they didn’t need permission from the U.K. to become a republic. Barbados has toggled with the plan of becoming a republic since last year, but only went through with the plan now. Prince Charles (Queen Elizabeth’s oldest son) attended the ceremony on behalf of the Queen, he received the Order of Freedom of Barbados, and prime minister Mia Mottley swore allegiance to Barbados and also announced that Rihanna would be named a national hero. In 2018, Rihanna was given the honour of being the official ambassador for culture and youth. When Rihanna released her hit song Umbrella in 2007 which helped launch her career and confirm her as one of the worlds biggest pop stars and also declared her as the most famous citizen from Barbados. This led to her getting her own day dedicated to her in 2008 by the prime minister at the time David Thompson. Barbados is not the only Caribbean nation to claim its independence, Guyana gained independence in 1966 and became a republic in 1970; Trinidad and Tobago gained independence in 1962 and became a republic in 1976; Dominica gained its independence and became a republic both in 1978. While Queen Elizabeth was the head of Barbados she is also the head of state of other nations like Canada, Jamaica, New Guinea, New Zealand, and Australia. Since Barbados is becoming its own republic they’re changing the names of certain things like the Police Force will now be called the Barbados Police Service and the “crown lands” will now be known as the “state lands”.