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By NAN Staff Writer

News Americas, BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Tues. Nov. 30, 2021: Barbados, the 169.5 square miles Eastern Caribbean island of 287,371 people, is now the world’s newest Republic.

The island ditched the Queen of England as its head of state and with a burst of fireworks declared itself a Republic just after midnight today. Soldiers lowered the Queen Elizabeth’s flag as it severed colonial-era ties to the British throne to the sound of jubilant gun salutes and fire works.

PASSING THE BATON – Charles, Prince of Wales (R) receives the Order of Freedom of Barbados from President of Barbados Dame Sandra Mason (2nd R) during the ceremony to declare Barbados a Republic and the Inauguration of the President of Barbados at Heroes Square in Bridgetown, Barbados, on November 30, 2021.

“Republic Barbados has set sail on her maiden voyage,” Dame Sandra Mason, the country’s first president, said in her inauguration speech as she recognized the “complex, fractured and turbulent world” it would need to navigate.

New President Sandra Mason (R) inspects a group of standard bearers after receiving the Order of Barbados and being sworn in as the President of Barbados during the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony at Heroes Square on November 30, 2021 in Bridgetown, Barbados. (Photo by Jonathan Brady – Pool/Getty Images)

During the handover, Britain’s Charles acknowledged the mark slavery had left on the two countries. “From the darkest days of our past, and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our history, the people of this island forged their path with extraordinary fortitude,” he told the crowd gathered despite COVID-19 for the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony at Heroes Square in Bridgetown, Barbados.

Dancers perform before the Presidential Inauguration Ceremony at Heroes Square on November 30, 2021 in Bridgetown, Barbados as the country becomes the world’s newest Republic. (Photo by Jonathan Brady – Pool/Getty Images)

Meanwhile, Barbadian-born superstar, Robyn Rihanna Fenty was named the newest national hero in her homeland as the island also marked its 55th independence anniversary.

Barbados is now the only Caribbean country where women are now both the President and prime minister.

US Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, sent congratulations on behalf of the United States as Barbados celebrated the 55th anniversary of independence, but failed to acknowledge the Republic status.

“We value the strong partnership between the United States and Barbados and appreciate your continued leadership in promoting democracy, human rights, and security throughout the Caribbean,” he said in the statement. “The meeting of Prime Minister Mottley with Vice President Harris in Washington, D.C. in October served as a welcomed opportunity to discuss our shared goals and reaffirm the friendship between our countries. We look forward to deepening our cooperation in the year ahead as we work together to ensure a full recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, address the climate crisis, and promote a democratic, resilient, and prosperous Caribbean region.”

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