Shortly after midnight, a Mason was shot and a civil servant parade at National Heroes Square in the capital, Bridgetown. There was no statue of British Admiral Horatio Nelson, who stood there for 200 years – even a year ago. Amid protests against racism and colonialism around the world, the government removed the statue from the central square where the country’s heroes will be honored. “If we don’t know who we are; if we don’t know what we want to fight for, then we are doomed to be exploited and colonized again,” Prime Minister Mia Motley said.
The separation from the Crown was announced two months ago. “It is time to leave our colonial past completely behind,” Motley said in his so-called annual Throne Address. Mason read the title in her previous role as governor-general of the island nation—that is, the Queen’s actress. In October, the Parliament of Barbados elected the 72-year-old to the newly created office of the President. Motley is still the head of government.
The 95-year-old wrote in a message on Tuesday that the Queen would like to congratulate Sandra Mason on her first day in office and send best wishes of “happiness, peace and prosperity” to all the people of Barbados. The Queen recalled a visit to Barbados in 1966 when the colony became an independent country with its own government. The Queen’s letter stated that since then, the people of Barbados have had “a special place in their hearts”. The island nation is proud of its beauty and vibrant culture.
Prince Charles, who represented his mother in Barbados, emphasized that even if some things changed, some things would stay the same – such as ‘close partnership and trust’ and shared values. Pop star Rihanna was at the party. Motley announced that the Barbadian singer, who is also the special ambassador for her country, would be accepted into the rank of National Hero. Barbados is still part of the Commonwealth of Nations.
The Commonwealth of Nations is a loose association of nations that arose out of former British colonies. The organization is chaired by Queen Elizabeth II, and Barbados gained independence from Great Britain on November 30, 1966, but the Queen has remained at the head of the state until now. More recently in 1992, Mauritius, a member of the Commonwealth, broke away from the monarchy.
The first English settlers came to Barbados 394 years ago. They soon enriched themselves by planting sugar through African slaves. In his 2016 book “The First Society of Black Slaves,” Barbadian historian Hilary Pickles described the island between 1636 and 1876 as “the most violent, brutal, and racially inhuman society of modern times.” Prince Charles, in his speech, spoke of the “horrific atrocity of slavery that has forever tainted our history”.
Because of this date, there are demands for compensation and a vote against the visit of Prince Charles in Barbados, as activist Solomon Belbolia wrote in the British newspaper “The Guardian”, Monday. At the same time, the country of 300,000 people is called “Little England” due to the strong influence of British culture. “Of course Barbados will maintain a close relationship with the United Kingdom,” Polpolia said. But this is a new era. As for ‘Little England,’ these times may require a new nickname.
“Food practitioner. Bacon guru. Infuriatingly humble zombie enthusiast. Total student.”