Barbados has elected its first ever president ahead of removing the Queen of England as its head of state and officially becoming a republic later this year.
72-year-old Dame Sandra Mason, who will be sworn in on November 30th as part of the country’s 55th year of Independence from Britain has been a governor-general since 2018 and is the first woman to serve on the Barbados Court of Appeals.
The historical announcement was made by Speaker of the House, Arthur Holder, after all the members except opposing senator, Caswell Franklyn, voted in favour of Dame Mason’s appointment.
Prime Minister Mia Mottley described the vote as a “seminal moment” for the Caribbean nation.
Last year, Dame Mason announced plans to “fully leave our colonial past behind” as the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving.”
Barbados, known for its advancements in tourism and finance, will be following in the footsteps of other Caribbean countries including Guyana who removed the Queen as their head of state in 1970, followed by Trinidad and Tobago in 1976 and Dominica in 1978.
Jamaica has been heavily considering a move to republicanism since the Jamaica Labour Party (JLP) won the majority of votes in 2016 under Prime Minister Andrew Holness.