BRIDGETOWN, Barbados: Prior to becoming a republic and removing Queen Elizabeth II as its head of state, Barbados has elected Dame Sandra Mason as its first president.
Mason, 72, who was the first woman to serve on the Barbados Court of Appeals and has been governor-general since 2018, will be sworn in on 30th November, coinciding with the 55th anniversary of the country's independence from the UK.
The time has come for Barbados to "fully leave our colonial past behind," the government said in a recently released statement. The shift to a republic was recommended by a constitutional review in 1998.
The historic election came during a joint session of the House of Assembly and the Senate on Wednesday.
The vote was described by Prime Minister Mia Mottley as a "seminal moment" for Barbados, which is one of the leading islands in the Caribbean, with a population of some 285,000.
Once heavily dependent on exporting sugar, the country's economy has also diversified with tourism and finance.
Guyana was the first former British colony to become a republic in 1970, less than four years after becoming independent from the UK, followed by Trinidad and Tobago in 1976 and Dominica in 1978.