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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

Barbados Elects First President Ahead Of Removal Of Queen Elizabeth As Head Of State 

Barbados has elected its first ever president as it prepares to become a republic, removing Queen Elizabeth as head of state.

Dame Sandra Mason, 72, is set to be sworn in on 30 November, which will mark the country’s 55th anniversary of independence from Britain.

The first woman to serve on the Barbados Court of Appeals, Dame Sandra has been governor-general since 2018.

The government announced the plan to move to a republic status last year.

It said “the time [had] come” for Barbados to “fully leave our colonial past behind”. The change had already been recommended by a constitutional review in 1998.

The historic election came after a joint session of the House of Assembly and the Senate on Wednesday. Prime Minister Mia Mottley described the vote as a “seminal moment” for the nation.

With a population of about 285,000, Barbados is one of the more populous and prosperous Caribbean islands. Once heavily dependent on sugar exports, its economy has diversified into tourism and finance.

Barbados will not be the first former British colony in the Caribbean to become a republic. Guyana took that step in 1970, less than four years after gaining independence from Britain. Trinidad and Tobago followed suit in 1976 and Dominica in 1978.

Jamaica has in the past suggested that it might also consider the change.

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