Dame Sandra Prunella Mason was sworn in as the first president of Barbados as she secured two-thirds of Majority vote in parliament. She replaced Queen Elizabeth II as the Head of State. Barbados became Independent from UK on 30th November 1966. On its 55th Independence day, Barbados announced that the country ceases to be a Commonwealth realm with Queen Elizabeth as its sovereign. Nevertheless, it will remain a part of Commonwealth of Nations. The Island became a British Colony in 1627 (some 400 years ago), when the Britishers transformed it into a sugar colony. Many of the captured African slaves were shipped into the island by British colonialists.
This process of becoming a Republic started in 1979, with the setting up of Cox Commission to attest to the feasibility of the republican system in Barbados. The Commission, however, had concluded that the public wished to remain under the system of constitutional monarchy.
In 1998, a constitutional committee had recommended that the country adopt the republican status and end the monarchy. It was earlier signalled when Barbados chose the Trinidad-based Caribbean Court of Justice, instead of London-based Privy council, as its final court of Appeal. It even announced to hold a referendum in 2008 but the idea was put-off indefinitely. The National Flag, National Anthem will remain same. However, references like “Royal” or “crown” will change. “Royal Barbados Police” will be changed to “Barbados Police Service” & “Crown lands” will change to “State Lands”.
Speaking as the guest of honour at the event, Prince Charles reiterated the continuing ties between the two nations despite the constitutional status change. He described the moment as a new beginning before being awarded the prestigious Order of Freedom of Barbados. He acknowledged the “appalling atrocity of slavery”. Before Barbados, the last nation to remove the Queen as head of state was Mauritius in 1992.