The Caribbean island has now become the world’s newest republic and is inaugurating its first-ever Barbadian president.
Barbados removed Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II as head of state at midnight local time on Monday. The Royal Standard flag that represents the queen was lowered in the capital Bridgetown in a ceremony that coincides with the country’s 55th year of independence.
Dame Sandra Mason was inaugurated as the first president of the Caribbean country, having been elected by a two-thirds majority vote in the Barbadian parliament.
In attendance at the celebrations was Prince Charles, heir apparent to the British throne, who arrived in the country on Sunday.
“We the people must give Republic Barbados its spirit and its substance,” Mason said in an address. “We must shape its future. We are each other’s and our nation:s keepers. We the people are Barbados.”
After a display of dance and music from the island, Barbadian singer Rihanna was declared a national hero by Prime Minister Mia Mottley, who led Barbados’ republican movement.
Who is Barbados’s new president?
Mason had previously served as governor-general of Barbados, representing the queen in the former Commonwealth realm. She is an attorney and judge who also served as ambassador to Venezuela, Colombia, Chile and Brazil.
“We have just elected among us a woman who is uniquely and passionately Barbadian….I can think therefore of no better person at this juncture of our nation,” said Prime Minister Mottley, praising the new president.