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Barbados Elects First President Ahead of Becoming a Republic

by Karen Rollins Oct 21, 2021

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Dame Sandra Mason

Dame Sandra Mason has been elected Barbados’ first President after a historic vote by parliamentarians on Wednesday 20 October 2021.

The ballot followed a joint session of the House of Assembly and the Senate where Dame Sandra received the necessary two-thirds majority despite a late objection by opposition senator Caswell Franklyn.

The House of Assembly voted 27-0, and the Senate 18-0 to confirm the appointment which will see Queen Elizabeth II removed as the island’s head of state.

Dame Sandra, 72, will be sworn into office on the anniversary of Barbados’ 55th Independence Day.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley described the ballot as a “seminal moment”.

Ms Mottley said: “We look forward, therefore, to 1 December 2021. But we do so confident that we have just elected from among us, a woman who is uniquely and passionately Barbadian; does not pretend to be anything else; reflects the values of who we are; [and] has been able, in spite of her achievement of many firsts, to maintain a humility that is so admired by our people.

“Barbadians do not like boastful people, that is not our nature. But we like confident people, proud people, industrious people, people who fight for the underdog, who believe in social justice, who believe in fairness; that is who we are.

“I can think, therefore, of no better person at this juncture of our nation who can reflect those values, and who also, by dint of their life, has shown you that it is not simply about fighting for rights, which is absolutely essential in a post-colonial society, but recognising the responsibilities that must go hand in hand with the gift of those rights.”

Ms Mottley added that now was the time for Barbadian citizens to “claim our full destiny”. She stated: “This is about being able to use this as the springboard that we as a nation need in order to confront a completely different reality…

“The time has come for us to express the full confidence in ourselves as a people, and to believe that it is possible for one born of this nation to sign off finally and completely.”

Dame Sandra has been Barbados’ governor-general since 2018. She was also the first woman to serve on the Barbados Court of Appeals.

Related content: What You Need to Know as Barbados Prepares to Become a Republic

Sources: Barbados Government Information Service, Nation News, and BBC News.