A little more, and then Barbados says goodbye to British Queen Elizabeth as head of state

In Barbados, the final preparations are being made for the ceremony by which the Caribbean island becomes a republic. At midnight local time (5am in the Netherlands), the island says goodbye to the British Queen Elizabeth as head of state. The current Governor-General, Sandra Mason, is sworn in as first president.

The island of 300,000 inhabitants became independent from Britain as early as 1966, but remained in the Commonwealth and also kept the British Queen Elizabeth as head of state. The change of state form is not at the expense of rapport. Queen Elizabeth has always taken the view that former colonies can choose their own form of state.

Sugar plantations

The main foreign guest at tonight‘s ceremony is the British Crown Prince Charles. It arrived on the island yesterday and was welcomed with a series of salute shots. Charles will also speak at the ceremony appointing Mason. He is expected to emphasize that the friendly bond will continue to exist despite the changed relationships.

Barbados was under British administration for centuries before independence. English settlers occupied the island in 1627; especially due to sugar plantations where hundreds of thousands of African enslaved, the island became relatively prosperous.

Since its independence, exactly 55 years ago tomorrow, the island has gradually become increasingly detached from Britain. For example, since 2005, the highest judicial authority is no longer British but Caribbean. Last year, it was finally decided to change the form of state.

Battle of Trafalgar

Then a statue of British Admiral Horatio Nelson was also taken away from the National Heroes’ Square in the capital Bridgetown, where the ceremony is also held tonight. The 1813 statue commemorated the British Navy‘s victory at the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805, which laid the foundation for British domination of the world’s seas and the settlement of dozens of colonies in all continents. The removal of the statue was seen as a clear break with the colonial past.

The previous former British colony who said goodbye to Queen Elizabeth as head of state was Mauritius, which declared itself a republic in 1992.

Barbados also remains a member of the Commonwealth under President Mason, a partnership between Great Britain and its former colonies. 54 countries are now members, including India, Pakistan, Nigeria, Canada, Australia and New Zealand,