Queen has 'ramped up engagements' since isolation says expert
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On October 21, Barbados elected its first-ever president as it takes the first steps to become a republic. Dame Sandra Mason will be sworn in on 30 November – the country’s 55th anniversary of independence from Britain.
While the country with a population of less than 300,000 gained its independence from Britain in 1966, the Queen, 95, remained its constitutional monarch.
In 2020, the Caribbean country announced its intention to remove Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state and become a republic.
As a result, Ms Mason was elected on Wednesday by a two-thirds vote of a joint session of the Caribbean country’s House of Assembly and Senate.
The 72-year-old former jurist has been governor-general of the island since 2018.
She was also the first woman to serve on the Barbados Court of Appeals.
The election has been referred to as a “seminal moment” for the country by prime minister Mia Mottley.
Following the election on Wednesday, she said: “We have just elected from among us a woman who is uniquely and passionately Barbadian, does not pretend to be anything else [and] reflects the values of who we are.”
Ms Mottley was also quick to reassure that the move is not means of condemning its British past.
She said: “We look forward to continuing the relationship with the British monarch”.
Last year, amid a global debate on racial injustice and colonialism, the government had announced to “fully leave our colonial past behind”.
Since gaining independence, the region has maintained ties with the British monarchy and was recognised as an independent state under the Commonwealth realm of Her Majesty.
According to Wazim Mowla of the Atlantic Council think-tank, the election could benefit the country both at home and abroad.
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He told Reuters the move makes the small developing country a more legitimate player in global politics, but could also serve as a “unifying and nationalistic move” that may benefit its current leadership at home.
Mr Mowla added: “Other Caribbean leaders and their citizens will likely praise the move, but I don’t expect others to follow suit.
“This move will always be considered only if it is in the best interest of each country.”
The news comes after Her Majesty spent Wednesday night in hospital for “preliminary investigations”.
The Queen’s hospital visit arose following the cancellation of her engagements in Northern Ireland after being told to rest by doctors.
A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: “Following medical advice to rest for a few days, the Queen attended hospital on Wednesday afternoon for some preliminary investigations, returning to Windsor Castle at lunchtime today, and remains in good spirits.”
According to reports, the sovereign was back at her desk and carrying out light duties after returning home from the hospital.
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