BARBABOS: A REPUBLIC AFTER 55 YEARS OF INDEPENDENCE FROM BRITAIN

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By Paul Ejime

It was great jubilation in Bridgerown on Tuesday as the Caribbean Island of Barbados became a Republic after 55 years of political independence from Britain.

Sandra Mason, the Governor Genetal was sworn in as the new ceremonial President, marking the nation’s severance of more than 400 years of histirical umbilical cord with the British Monarch.

Prince Charles represented her mother, Queen Elizabeth II at the ceremony in the Barbadian capital.

Barbados remains a member of the Commonwealth having gained independence from Britain in 1966, but the significance of Tuesday’s event is not lost on Barbadians and their fellow Caribbean nations.

In a speech after taking the oath of office President Mason said her country will “seize the full significance of our sovereignty.”

Tuesday’s ceremony, which many former British colonies have gone through in their political evolution, with a few still weighing their options, rekindles the sad memories of slave trade of more than 400 years ago when millions of Africans were uprooted and sold into forced labour in parts of the world.

The number of African taken into slavery May never be know.

But agitations for reparations for that egregious trade in human beings by European slavers still reverberate.

Barbados, with beautiful beaches, friendly weather and fertile vegetation was among the favourite Caribbean destinations for European slave traders to assemble their human cargo from Africa as cheap labour for the sugar cane and rice plantations.

Humoured as “Little England,” with a small population of less than 300,000, Barbados is however, among Caribbean nations with the most passionate pan-Africanist spirit.

It’s current Prime Minister Mia Mottley, left world leaders spell-bound with her moving speech at the recent Climate Change meeting COP26 in Glasgow.

Mottley is credited with fast-tracting the process for Barbados’ attainment of the Republican status after decades of foot dragging by previous leaders of the island nation.

Barbados might be small, but when its PM Mottley speaks, the world listens.

Whether her sustained advocacy for the poor and the down trodden is acted upon is another matter.

But Madam Mottley always makes her voice heard!

The world needs more leaders like her!

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