A new chapter in history’s pages is now being written.
It began at midnight with the declaration of Barbados as the world’s newest republic.
President Dame Sandra Mason was, for all intents and purposes, the first to write a line in this new chapter as she took the oath of office at National Heroes Square just minutes after midnight.
“In the year 2021, we now turn our vessels bow towards the new republic. We do this so that we may seize the full substance of our sovereignty,” the President declared as the island transitioned from a monarchy to a parliamentary republic.
This history was written in view of ordinary Barbadians and scores of dignitaries, including Prince Charles who was a guest of honour for the historic celebration.
The Prince of Wales, next in line to the British throne, urged the Barbadian people to make “freedom, justice and self-determination to be their guides” as he pledged the United Kingdom’s dedication to “close and trusted partnership”, even as Barbados’ departed from the British realm.
He lauded the people of Barbados for forging their own path.
“Your long journey has brought you to this moment, not as your destination, but as a vantage point from which to survey a new horizon. Madam President, as your constitutional status changes, it is important to me that I should join you to reaffirm those things that do not change,” added Prince Charles.
“Tonight you write the next chapter of your nation’s story, adding to the treasury of past achievements, collective enterprise and personal courage, which already fills its pages. Yours is a story in which every Barbadian, young and old can take the greatest pride, inspired by what has come before them and confident about what lies ahead.”
During the ceremony, Prime Minister Mia Mottley, Chief Justice Sir Patterson Cheltenham, Attorney General Dale Marshall, Barbados Defence Force Chief of Staff Commodore Errington Shurland, and Commissioner of Police Richard Boyce all took the newly rewritten oath of allegiance to Barbados “according to law”, instead of to “Queen, her heirs and successors”.
Barbados starting November 30, 2021 – the island’s 55th Anniversary of Independence – as a republican nation was the culmination of a celebration that started a stone’s throw away at Independence Square, at 7 p.m. the night before. It featured the newly-reconstructed National Youth Steel Orchestra and the creme de la creme of Bajan talent, including Biggie Irie, TC, Edwin, Peter Ram, who performed with a band under the leadership of musical director Dr Nicholas Brancker.
This article appears in the November 29 edition of the Independence publication. Read the full publication here