The World’s Newest Country

The Worlds Newest Country

After 396 years the island nation of Barbados has cut its ties with the British Monarchy. The nation of roughly 300,000 is now the world’s newest country. This decision was announced in 2020 by Barbadian (Bajan) Prime Minister Mia Mottley. Although many in the country think this decision is long overdue, she as well as the British, now fully agree, “[it’s time to] leave our colonial past behind”. 

At midnight on November 30, the royal flag was lowered at Heroes Square in Bridgetown, the capital of the country. The country’s chief executive in the National Cultural Foundation then declared the country a constitutional republic. Hundreds of people lined the streets of the capital and a 21-gun slate performed to the national anthem. Prince Charles, the eldest son of Queen Elizabeth and heir to the throne, also attended the ceremony and passed off the flag in a symbolic gesture. In his speech, he congratulated the Bajans, stating “You are the guardians of your heritage.” Shortly thereafter, Sandra Mason (former Governor who was appointed by the Queen and Parliament) was sworn in as the country’s first President by the Chief Justice. The President will serve as a sole executive for the country;  however, the Prime Minister will still have most of the power.  

Australia, Canada, Jamaica, New Zealand and Papua New Guinea are among the nations that still call the queen their head of state. Barbados will remain part of the Commonwealth, a voluntary association of 54 countries with roots in the British Empire. It is not too unlikely to think that other countries will follow in the footsteps of Barbados in the near future. 

As an added bonus Rihanna, a native Bajan, was declared a national hero. She received the honor, Prime Minister Mottley said, for commanding “the imagination of the world” with her excellence, creativity, discipline and, “above all else, her extraordinary commitment to the land of her birth.” She was also cited stating “May you continue to shine like a diamond” to the artist. Aside from the point, I also learned that Rihanna was made an official ambassador of Barbados in 2018. 

It is the beginning of a new era in the Caribbean, a movement away from colonial pasts into a brighter future. Although there was little hindrance to people’s livelihoods, it sure feels good to be fully free. As the Bajan populus rejoices, all those in favor of a free world share a small victory too.  

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