Barbados has officially removed Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state, freeing itself from the British monarchy after nearly 400 years of colonization. In an overnight ceremony in the capital Bridgetown, Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as Barbados’s first-ever president.
Dame Sandra Mason: “And with firm resolve and in one voice, from this day and forever, declare Barbados a parliamentary republic.”
Fireworks adorned the sky at midnight as Barbados officially became the world’s newest republic. Ahead of the ceremony, Barbados held a National Service of Thanksgiving, where Barbados senator and Reverend John Rogers spoke.
Rev. John Rogers: “Our seed is one that survived the journey that many should not have survived, survived 300 years of a plantation system that many should not have survived. Every child born in this country is a gift of God, specially preserved, specially protected.”
Prince Charles joined Monday evening’s ceremony, where he formally acknowledged Britain’s “appalling atrocity of slavery” in the Caribbean. Barbadian singer, actress and fashion designer Rihanna also attended the ceremony, where she was declared a national hero by Barbados’s prime minister.