Barbados Republic: No Your Majesty: Yes Madame President

FILE PHOTO: Britain’s Prince Charles and Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall Caribbean tour
Britain’s Prince Charles attends a meeting with the Governor-General of Barbados, Sandra Mason, during a visit to Barbados, March 19, 2019.
Tim Rooke/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

Caribbean feminists applauded Barbados on Oct. 20. 2021 when nationals voted Sandra Prunella Mason president-elect of the island with a two-thirds majority vote during a joint session of the country’s House of Assembly and Senate.

That decision said No to Queen Elizabeth II deciding matters of national interest in Barbados and putting an end to the beholding relationship maintained for centuries by monarchies continuing through decades since the island became independent on Nov. 30, 1966.

The endorsement okayed governance by a Barbadian president for the first time, and for the first time making history by approving one that is female.

Now in transition from being a parliamentary constitutional monarchy to a parliamentary republic, Barbados will seat the ceremonial elected president and head of state on the 55th anniversary of independence.

Mason proved her mettle, in 2017, when she was named the eighth governor general prior to that she was the first woman admitted to the Bar in Barbados. She served as chair of the CARICOM commission to evaluate regional integration, was the first magistrate appointed as an ambassador from Barbados, and was the first woman to serve on the country’s Supreme Court.

In addition, she was the first appointee from Barbados to the Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribune.

Perhaps another reason nationals endorsed a woman to further her call to duty, is that Mason seems duly qualified to continue presiding on behalf of the populous.

When she is seated, Barbados will be the standout Caribbean republic touting the historic achievement of being led by two females particularly when colonialism is spiraling downwards.

One year after Mason committed to the crown, Prime Minister Mia Mottley also proved herself a fierce leader. Representing the Barbados Labour Party that year, she obliterated her opponents by winning each of the 30 parliamentary seats sought by the incumbent Democratic Labour Party.

Since then doubling as minister of finance she has brought transparency to the forefront by disclosing previously hidden debts owed by the government. Despite the fact she inherited a mountain of outstanding debts she is determined to right the wrongs of the past. Last week she gave an ultimatum to bankers charging them with “abandoning their purpose.”

Advocating for nationals she railed against them on a myriad of unfair practices and threatened to notify the governor of the central bank that if they don’t cooperate government will legislate measures preventing their banks from operating.

One of the incursions she charged was that banks impose steep fees on accounts with minimum deposits.

“It is not fair to the people or businesses in this nation.”

Championing the needs of her people, PM Motley has taken Barbados’ politics into international spotlight. At the opening of the 76th session of General Assembly at the United Nations she admonished members of the world body for failing to ensure equal distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

She further verbally spanked the leaders saying: “We have the means to give every child on this planet a tablet and we have the means to give every adult a vaccine and we have the means to invest in protecting the most vulnerable on our planet from a change in climate but we choose not to. It is not that we do not have enough, it is because we do not have the will to distribute that which we have. And it is also because regrettably the faceless few do not fear consequences sufficiently.”

Ouch!

Revered on the African continent, PM Mottley visited Ghana the year President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo declared a Year of Return for all displaced Africans. Reputed the darling from the diaspora PM Mottley also visited Kenya.

On Africa Day 2021, she said: “What a mirroring of Africa’s own journey from the OAU to the African Union (AU) in 2001 and from a substantially colonized continent in 1963 to the completely independent Africa that exists today.”

Most of all while other Caribbean leaders murmur a desire to sever ties with the sovereign head of the United Kingdom, PM Mottley acted on her promise to remove the British titular and replace her with a local.

The Barbados leader described the election of the president-elect as a ‘seminal moment’ for the Caribbean nation.
“We have just elected from among us a woman who is uniquely and passionately Barbadian, does not pretend to be anything else and reflects the values of who we are,” Mottley said after the historic vote of confidence.

The Barbados leader described the election of the president-elect as a ‘seminal moment’ for the Caribbean nation.
Mottley was one-year-old when Barbados achieved independence. Now the eighth person to hold the position of prime minister in Barbados, she made history emerging the first woman to hold the position.

Her victory scored an unprecedented feat for her BLP which recorded a whopping 72.8 percent of the popular vote — the highest share ever achieved in a general election.

Prior to championing her party’s leadership, in 2001, PM Motley made history serving in the capacity of the island’s attorney general, the first of her gender to be appointed to the position. She also was the youngest Queens Counsel there.

“The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind. Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state. This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving. Hence, Barbados will take the next logical step toward full sovereignty and become a republic by the time we celebrate our 55th anniversary of independence. Barbados has developed governance structures and institutions that mark us as what has been described as, ‘the best governed Black society in the world’. Since independence, we Barbadians have sought constantly to improve our systems of law and governance so as to ensure they best reflect our characteristics and values as a nation.”

Ironically, while vowing to dissolve the parental relationship the imperialist nation maintained, her father Sir Elliot Mottley received his knighthood from the queen of England January 2019.

Catch You On The Inside!

More from Around NYC