There was a general sense of pleasure and satisfaction among Barbadians today at the selection of Madame Justice Sandra Mason as the country’s eighth Governor General, and the second woman to serve as the representative of the Queen, who is the head of state.
Dozens showed up in Heroes Square and Independence Square The City this afternoon to watch preparations for the formal ceremony to be held on Monday in the Senate Chambers, where Mason will be officially appointed.
With mobile devices in hand to capture the memories, they watched as the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) practised the drills and ensured all involved were aware where they must stand during the parade.
A march-past by the combined band of the Royal Barbados Police Force and the BDF began at Independence Square at 3:30 p.m. and ended at Heroes Square next to the Parliament building.
The band also went through its paces, playing the national anthem, as well as the song which will signal Mason’s entrance.
Over at the Parliament building three individuals moved the clock’s hands to 3:45, and it rang beautifully this afternoon.
Many of those who showed up today to witness the rehearsals spoke glowingly about the Governor General designate.
One man, who gave his name as ‘Mr Haynes’, said that he had known the late Dame Nita Barrow personally and he was happy to have Justice Mason follow in her footsteps as Governor General as he believes Mason is “bright enough” to hold the distinguished position.
Mason, who is due to take the oath of office on January 8, will become the second woman to occupy the highest office in the land after Dame Nita held the position from June 1990 until her death in December 1995.
On Monday, she will also be conferred with the title of ‘Dame Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George’, in keeping with tradition.
The development comes at the height of a 30-year legal career in which Mason served as an Appeals Court Judge, Registrar of the Supreme Court, Chief Magistrate and as a former High Court Judge in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States.
Kenrick William told Barbados TODAY he was particularly pleased as he had previously worked with Mason when she was president of Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) and was confident that she would be an outstanding chief representative of the crown.
“She deserves it,” William said, while comparing Mason to the recently retired St Lucian governor general, Dame Pearlette Louisy, the first female St Lucian to hold the post.
“She’s just like the Governor General of St Lucia. She was a fair judicial officer, doing her work, don’t mind she was criticized. She was fair and just,” he said.
There were similar sentiments from a woman who wanted to be identified as Aunty from Bush Hall.
“I am very proud to see we have a second lady as Governor General. I know that Sandra is going to do a very good job as GG . . . and may God bless her and keep her in all of her duties,” the woman said.
However, not everyone was pleased with the pomp that accompanies Mason’s upcoming appointment.
Olivere Husbands, who said the late Sir Clifford Husbands was his uncle, wondered why the former Governor General had not been accorded similar fanfare.
“I ain’t see all of this promotion they are doing this evening about Sir Clifford Husbands. He just was sworn in and that was it,” he said, even as he added that he was pleased that Mason had been chosen for the post.
“I glad to see who they have now because I was looking for [Acting GG Sir] Philip Greaves to get it. But as long as she gets it I am thankful. I would be glad if she follows in [Sir Clifford’s] footsteps,” he said.