BRIDGETOWN, Nov 30 – The Eastern Caribbean Island and an independent commonwealth nation, Barbados officially cut all formal ceremonial and political ties with the UK, overthrowing Queen Elizabeth II from the Head of the State position to emerge as the world’s newest Republic.
During the Pride of Nationhood ceremony held in Bridgetown, Barbados, PM Mia Mottley declared the Take a Bow singer Rihanna a National Hero.
“May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honor to your nation by your works, by your actions,” said the Prime Minister to the singer in a nod to her global hit, “Diamonds”.
Robyn Rihanna Fenty, popularly known as Rihanna, belonged to Saint Michael. She was raised in the capital Bridgetown before shifting to the US to pursue her music career and become one of the finest singers of all time. With the national hero title, she becomes the 11th person to receive such an honorable title.
On Tuesday, after almost 400 years, Barbados became a republic removing Queen Elizabeth II and announcing its first-ever president after the English ships hit the Caribbean island.
At midnight (local time), the local crowd cheered to the new republic and marked the event by playing the now-independent state’s national anthem and performing a 21 gun salute.
A glaring show of fireworks, music, and dance began after Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced Rihanna as a global star and a national hero.
Sandra Mason, who serves as the queen’s representative and the governor of the Island, vowed as the country’s first-ever president. Earlier, the Parliament elected her as a figurehead, though Mia Mottley will continue as the Prime Minister of the country.
“It is a monumental step,” said Kristina Hinds a political science lecturer at the University of the West Indies, Barbados, during a video conference from Wanstead, ahead of the event. “I think it is part of the evolution of our independence, and it is certainly long overdue.”
While Barbados celebrated its freedom from the royal family’s administration, Prince Charles attended the ceremony and witnessed the event.
After being removed from the head of the state position, Queen Elizabeth II is now left with the queenship of 15 realms including, Jamaica, Canada, the United Kingdom, and Australia.
During the ceremony, the heir to the British throne, Prince Charles, gave a congratulatory speech saying the “creation of the republic offers a new beginning,” while the Queen sent her “warmest good wishes” to the island.
“From the darkest days of our past and the appalling atrocity of slavery which forever stains our history, people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude,” Prince Charles said.
The presence of Prince Charles may be a signal that the royal family wishes to remain on good terms with the island.
Despite declaring independence, Barbados will continue to be a part of the Commonwealth organization of nations.