After more than half a century of independence, the Caribbean island of Barbados officially became a republic on Tuesday, reflecting the desire of new generations to destroy the colonial past.
This has not happened for thirty years. Barbados, a small island east of the Lesser Antilles, officially liberated itself on Tuesday, November 30th. British crown, Following the example of Mauritius in 1992.
Its dream beaches, its line of refuge status and fame Singer Rihanna, Sandra Mason, President of the Caribbean Microstate, was elected by indirect universal suffrage and was replaced by President-elect. Queen Elizabeth II.
“I, Sandra Brunella Mason, with the help of God, swear allegiance to Barbados by law and uphold true faith,” the new president was sworn in.
A sign of divorce without loss or hassle between the United Kingdom and Barbados, Prince Charles, Inheriting the crown, was invited to the celebrations of this historic transition to republican rule.
This change will mark the first independent Barbados since 1966, a Commonwealth member, but the Queen’s emblem and the word “Royal” will disappear from the names of its companies.
Elizabeth II, the official head of state, did not interfere in Barbadian’s political career, and her title was, above all, honorable.
British “first slave society”
However, this level change is not trivial to an island that came from an African population that experienced a bloody colonial past of 90% of the population.
According to historian Hillary Beckles, chair of the Compensation Commission for the Commonwealth of Caribbean States (CARICOM), Barbados served as a laboratory for “Britain’s first slave society”.
The Barbados Lifetime Slave Order of 1636 was actually one of the earliest examples of the legalization of slavery.
Scientific studies have recently demonstrated the dire living conditions of men and women forced to work on the island’s sugarcane plantations. According to a study Carried out on human remains buried in the “Newton Slave Burial Ground” in Barbados, the lifespan of slaves rarely exceeded 18 years.
For some activists, such as Firhana Bulbulia, founder of the Barbados Muslim Women’s Association, British colonialism and slavery are now directly responsible for the inequalities on the island.
“Differences in wealth, ability to own assets, even access to bank loans, are all linked to structures created under British rule,” the 26-year-old woman told AFP.
Despite the difficulties associated with the decline of tourism activities due to the Govt-19 epidemic, Barbados remains a rich country compared to its neighbors. It is one of the highest human development indices in the region, behind Argentina, according to the latest United Nations figures.
An Effect on “Black Lives Matter”
Prime Minister Mia Motley, who was elected in 2018, was a staunch supporter of the liberation movement against the former colonial powers. If this idea has evolved over the years, decades, then the arrival of a new generation of Barbadians Black Lives Matter Movement, Seems to have accelerated the process.
The symbol of this new mentality is the unveiling of the statue of Admiral Horacio Nelson, organized by the Barbadian authorities. The statue of the British navigator, close to the slaves, was later removed from Heroes Square in the capital Bridgetown to join the Barbados Museum.
“There is a certain consensus today in favor of the Republic,” explains Matthew Graves, professor of British history at Aix-Marseille University, affiliated with France 24. “And Black Lives Matter really created the background for this movement. It must stand apart from colonial history and fully accept the sovereignty of the country.
Other events have provoked this reaction to the “colonization of minds”, especially the racist allegations launched last year. Prince Harry and his wife Megan Against the royal family. In 2018, the Windrush scandal helped shatter trust between the island and Britain when immigrants of Caribbean descent and their descendants who came to the UK legally were threatened with deportation.
With the birth of this new Caribbean republic, some experts expect other nations to follow suit, freeing themselves from the British crown.
Starting from Jamaica, its constitutional independence has been an ongoing debate in the news. In 1999, Australians also went to the polls to decide whether their country should be a republic with a locally elected president, but that proposal was not eventually passed. This problem may recur in Canada as well.
Matthew Graves warns that “however, this should not be considered a catalyst for the beginning of the Commonwealth Fall,” recalling that other countries, such as Guyana in the 1970s or Trinidad and Tobago in 1976, chose to secede from the Queen. Head of State while in the Commonwealth.
“We will remain loyal friends and allies, based on the lasting relations and contacts between our people and the Commonwealth’s special bond,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement on Monday.
Created in 1949 le Commonwealth Today it has 54 member states and is an important part of British influence around the world, especially since Brexit. Even smaller states like Barbados are making their voices heard on the international stage.
According to Matthew Graves, “Buckingham is more concerned with the Queen’s ceremonial role within the organization and with her future.” In April 2018, the Commonwealth voted in favor of Elizabeth II’s successor, with Prince Charles as the head of the organization, according to an analyst.