- Barbados becomes a republic after almost 400 years
- prince charles says slavery a blemish on history
- Rihanna attends ceremony in Bridgetown
BRIDGETOWN, Nov. 30 (Reuters) – Barbados dumped Britain’s Queen Elizabeth as head of state, forging a new republic on Tuesday with to be first-once president and breaking it last remaining colonial ties nearly 400 years after the first English ships arrived on the Caribbean island.
at the strike of midnight, the new republic was born to cheer of hundreds of people lining Chamberlain Bridge in the capital Bridgetown. a 21 gun salute fired as the national hymn of Barbados was played over a busy Heroes’ Square.
Prince Charles, heir to the British throne, stood gloomily as Queen Elizabeth’s royal standard was lowered and the new Barbados stated, a step that Republicans hope will spark discussion? of similar proposals in other former British colonies die have the queen as their sovereign.
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“The creation of this republic offers a new begin,” said Prince Charles, whose… mother sent her warm wishes. “Of the darkest to dawn of U.S past and the terrible atrocity? of slavery die stained us forever history, people of this island has their path with extraordinary steadfastness.”
Barbados ejects the removal of Elizabeth the Second, who is still queen of 15 other empires including the UK, Australia, Canada and Jamaica, such as way to finally break with the demons of it’s colonial history.
After a dazzling display of barbadian dance and music, complete with speeches die celebrate the end of colonialism, Sandra Mason was sworn in in if die from Barbados first president.
Barbadian singer Rihanna also attended the ceremony and was named a national hero.
The birth of the republic, 55 years to the day since Barbados declared independence, is breaking almost all colonial ties die bound the little island to England since an English ship claimed it for King James II in 1625.
It’s possible also be a harbinger of a broader effort by others former colonies around the tires met break the British monarchy as it braces itself for the end of Elizabeth is almost 70-year rule and the future accession of Karel.
“Stop this colonial page,” Winston Farrell, a Barbadian poet, told the ceremony. “Some have grown up dumb under the Union Jack, lost in the castle of their skin.”
“It’s alright over us, rising out of the reed beds, reclaiming our history’, he said. ‘End everything she means, put a Bajan there instead.”
Prime Minister Mia Mottley, the leader of Barbados’ Republican Movement, Helped lead the ceremony. Mottley has won global attention by denouncing the effects of climate change on small Caribbean countries.
“I’m over the moon,” Ras Binghi, a Bridgetown shoemaker, told Reuters of the ceremony. Binghi said he would say hello new republic with a drink and a cigarette.
Prince Charles’ speech highlighted the ongoing friendship of the two nations despite England’s central role in the transatlantic slave trade.
While Britain considers slavery a sin of the past, some Barbadians call for compensation from Great Britain.
Activist David Denny celebrated the creation of the Republic, but said he opposes Prince Charles’ visit, citing the royal family for benefited from the slave for centuries trade.
“Our movement would also like the Royal family to pay damages,” said Denny in an interview in bridge city.
The English initially used white British indentured servants to toil on the plantations of tobacco, cotton, indigo and sugar, but Barbados in just a few decades would be England first truly profitable slave society.
Barbados received 600,000 enslaved Africans between 1627 and 1833, who were turned on work in the sugar plantations, make fortunes for the English owners.
More than 10 million Africans were chained to the Atlantic slave trade by European countries between the 15th and 19th centuries. That who survived the often cruel journey, ended up toil on plantations.
Barbados will remain a republic within the Commonwealth, a grouping of 54 countries in Africa, Asia, America and Europe.
Beyond the luscious official ceremony, some Barbadians said they weren’t sure what the transition to a republic actually meant of why it mattersred.
“She should late Queen Elizabeth met rest – leave her as the boss. I don’t understand why we need to be a republic,” said Sean Williams, 45, permanently in the shadow of an independence monument.
The last time to be the queen removed if head of state was in 1992 when the island in the Indian Ocean of Mauritius declared itself a republic.
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Written by Guy Faulconbridge in Bridgetown and Brian Ellsworth in Washington; Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Edited by Daniel Flynn, Lisa Shumaker and Lincoln Feast.
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