“The Queen has come from England to set us free,” chanted some 70,000 African-born Barbados in 1838, when slavery was finally abolished in this British Caribbean colony. Much has changed in Barbados’ version of its history and the attribution of responsibility since then. At midnight on November 30, 1966, the island gained its independence, although it remained a member of the Commonwealth. (Community of Nations) and choose a parliamentary and constitutional monarchy as the form of government. Elizabeth II continues as Head of State crown jewel British rule abroad. This Tuesday, 55 years later, at the same midnight, the world’s youngest republic will emerge.
The heir to the British Crown, Carlos of England, is already on the island, and will deliver in the minutes after 00.00 this Monday (Barbados local time) the speech which has been centrally submitted by the communications team from the Prince of Wales: “At the time of your constitutional model change, it is very important for me to be with you to reaffirm all that has not changed,” the queen’s son planned to emphasize, “such as the thousands of connections between the people of our two countries, through which admiration, compassion, cooperation and opportunity just flowing”.
Sandra Mason, a lawyer, judge and hitherto Governor-General of Barbados – and as such, Elizabeth II’s official representative on the island – will become the new republic’s first president. Two-thirds of lawmakers in the country’s upper and lower houses voted for him last October. “Barbados want one of their compatriots as head of state. This is a major affirmation of confidence in ourselves, in who we are and in all that we are capable of achieving,” Mason told lawmakers in a speech delivered on behalf of Prime Minister Mia Mottley, leader of the Barbados Labor Party.
Two women to say goodbye to another woman. But Barbados wanted to avoid a painful breakup. That is why he invited Carlos of England to the ceremony of the proclamation of the republic, and the institution is trying to avoid any kind of injury to the 95-year-old king, who has visited the island up to four times. during his reign. Barbados will continue to be part of the Commonwealth, even though the former colony’s alliance has had an increasingly weak and diffuse image, despite the fact that Elizabeth II has made it a priority goal of her mandate for decades.
Global movement Black Lives Matter (Black Lives Matter) has also given new impetus to the demands for financial reparations that many Barbados associations and politicians have directed at the UK. The wealth of Barbados, one of the most British Caribbean islands in existence for its language, institutions, culture and traditions, was largely cemented by the trade and labor of African slaves, who worked mainly on tobacco and sugar plantations. “The royal family profited from slavery in Barbados. Charles’ visit from the UK is an insult and I am very upset,” said David Denny, secretary general of the Caribbean Movement for Peace and Integration, one of the main promoters of the protests planned on the island before the arrival of the Welsh prince. “It’s not just money that we ask for. We demand an apology and real help, because improvements are needed to change our society,” added Denny.
About 600,000 of the more than 12 million people taken from their homes in Africa and destined for slavery ended up in Barbados. “I wish you the best, and I believe that your actions will awaken the conscience of Prince Charles,” said Trevor Prescod, president of the National Commission for Reparations, which is appointed by the Prime Minister. various.
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At the last Climate Change Summit, COP-26 held in Glasgow, Prescod and Carlos from the UK met. The heir to the British crown has publicly described his country’s role in the slave trade as “cruel” during a visit to Ghana in 2018. However, he has never acknowledged the direct benefits of the practice to the royal family. . That is what many of the leading activists of the reparations movement in Barbados are pursuing. Several British companies, such as insurance company Lloyd’s or brewery Greene King, whose founders have extensive plantations in the Caribbean, have apologized and provided financial assistance to organizations promoting diversity and inclusion.