Barbados becomes a Republic on Nov 30

Barbados becomes a Republic and removes Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state but remains part of the Commonwealth.

Bridgetown promenade in Barbados
Waterfront walkway in Bridgetown, capital city of Barbados. The island becomes a Republic on November 30, 2021, 55 years after its independence | © Loozrboy, 2013

On November 30, 2021, Barbados officially becomes a Republic during the celebration of the 55th anniversary of its independence from the United Kingdom.

The island remains part of the Commonwealth but Queen Elizabeth II is removed as its monarch and head of state. The Queen is being replaced by Barbados’s first president, Sandra Mason.

Barbados, a Caribbean island of 280,000 people, is part of the Commonwealth Realm. Each realm governs itself but remains tied with the United Kingdom. Australia, New Zealand or Canada are realms, as well as other Caribbean islands like Jamaica, Antigua and Barbuda, Grenada, Saint Lucia, or Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.

Barbados became a British colony in 1625, after which the sugar cane industry extensively developed with trade slave, abolished in 1807. Barbados became independent in 1966. The main driver of Barbados economy now is tourism.

President of Barbados, mostly a representation position

Sandra Mason, 72, has been the current governor-general of Barbados since 2018 and was elected president by the House of Assembly and the Senate on October 12.

As governor-general of Barbados, she was the representative of Queen Elizabeth II on the island. The political system of the island is similar to the Westminster system.

Her role will mostly remain symbolic as most of the executive power lies with parliament and the prime minister, Mia Mottley.

The change of status was announced by the government of Barbados last year, to “fully leave our colonial past behind“.

Guyana, Trinidad and Tobago, and Dominica became Republics in the 70s few years after becoming independent. Jamaica may also consider the change in the future.

Sandra Mason will be sworn in as President on November 30, before Prince Charles makes his speech.

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