LONDON—Almost 400 Years After the first English ship arrived on its golden shores, the former British colony of Barbados will wake up up Tuesday as a republic.
The small Caribbean nation will remove Queen Elizabeth II like it head of stands in a ceremony die shall begin late monday, severing ties with the british royal family – and with the, one of the islands last other imperial ties to the United Kingdom.
It’s been 55 years since Barbados won full independence but kept the monarch in the ceremonial role.
The event will see Sandra Mason, a Barbadian who has served as governor of the island general – of representative of the queen – sworn in as of the country first president. She was elected to the figurehead post by Parliament last month, but Prime Minister Mia Mottley will continue met run the country.
“It is a monumental stepKristina Hinds, a senior lecturer in politics science at University of West Indies in eastern Barbados, said on a zoom call from her home in wanstead, north of the capital Bridgetown. “I think it’s part” of the evolution of our independence, and it is certainly much too late.”
prince charles, the heir to the British throne, will become in presence as Barbados celebrates ending formal ties with are 95-year-old mother. elizabeth is queen of 15 other empires including the UK, Australia, Canada and Jamaica.
a spokesperson for Buckingham Palace said the decision was a matter for the people of Barbados.
The occasion will feature music and dancing. In a “final salute to the monarchy,” said Charles’ office, the queens standard will be lowered and fireworks will mark Mason’s inauguration.
Charles is expected to give a speech die says a lot of the relationship between the two nations will remain the same, including “the myriad connections between the” people of U.S countries.”
His presence can signal the Royal family’s desire to maintain strong ties with the island that will remain in the Commonwealth — a voluntary association of 54 states including many former British colonies and die the queen has defended all her life.
But for Hinds, the presence of Charles is symbolically ‘a little strange’.
“It’s problematic for die below us who believe that the British monarchy, as important as it has been for historic Barbados in positive manners, has also caused serious damage to the country,” she said.
in the 17th century, Barbados was claimed by the British and changed in a lucrative colony using work of hundreds of thousands of people brought over as slaves of Africa.
It became an important hub for the production of sugar, an increasingly important raw material die helped enrich the British slave owners.
“AN result of the desire for the production of sugar, that was catering for a growing sweet tooth back in England — lifestyle of white consumers built on the back of black exploitation and slave labor,” said Christopher Prior, associate professor in colonial and postcolonial history at the British University of Southampton.
The current time of the island population of about 287,000 consists mainly of of the descendants of people brought over as slaves from Africa to work in the plantations.
Despite this history, there remains a level of respect for the monarchy and Great Britain in general, especially among the elder of the island populationsaid Hinds.
Many places in Barbados are named after the Queen of her ancestors, and a lion share of the country’s tourists are from the UK, they added. The island is often referred to as ‘Little England’.
Still several people in Barbados welcomed their country move break ties with are ancient imperial rulers.
“For Barbadians this is not something personal against the queen, it goes over our national pride and governance,” René Holder-McClean-Ramirez, 45, an LGBTQ community advocate and advisor, said: on his phone home in bridge city.
“As we grow and develop as an independent nation, we have a foreign… head of stands just is not necessary of practical,” he said.
For Ronnie Yearwood, a Bridgetown attorney, the positive feeling of the move is combined with sorry that the government pushed forward without consultation met the public on the type of republic they would want.
Barbados first followed the idea of republicanism in late 70s and in 2008 proposed to hold a referendum on the issue, but the date has been pushed back indefinitely.
The decision to remove the queen if head of state was announced in 2020 but with little consultation over the transition, Yearwood said.
“There is a lot of disappointment,” said Yearwood, 42. “Could have been a beautiful moment” for all the Barbadians.”
NBC News reached out to both the prime minister’s office and Mason, but received no interviews.
Barbados’ decision to dump the queen a wave follows of protests over the world inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement in the United States. AN more candid evaluation of Great Britain’s Imperial past has helped drive an attempt to bring down symbols of racism and colonialism from Cambridge to the Caribbean.
“It’s a local event of a very global conversation in progress over the inheritance of the British Empire and its colonial exploitation,” said Prior.
“Barbados’ move is another element of our decolonizing moments.”
So can the change stir? on the beaches of Barbados marks the start of a wave of rich cutting tyres with the Royal family?
“When the queen finally passes away, there is coming emergence of further conversations, in the special in place like Australia, over the question of they? want to have Charles as theirs head of state,” said Prior.
“Not me want to suggest that there is some inevitability, but I think it is very likely that the issue of republicanism won’t go away anytime soon soon.”
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