As Barbados prepares to become a republic and remove the British Queen as its sovereign, some residents of the capital Bridgetown admitted on Sunday they are confused about what the change means and how it will affect them. Will do
The Caribbean island gained independence from Britain in 1966, but still retains Queen Elizabeth as head of state, as is the case in several former British colonies, including Jamaica and Australia.
Barbados will on Tuesday replace the Queen with Barbadian President Sandra Mason, who will serve as a largely symbolic figure behind Prime Minister Mia Motley. Mason, the current Governor-General and appointed representative of the Queen in Barbados, was elected by the Parliament of Barbados.
The ceremony will include the visit of Prince Charles, the heir to the British throne, and will coincide with the country’s Independence Day on November 30.
“I’m not sure how this affects me as an everyday Barbadian,” said Diane King, 34, the human resources manager. “You still have a prime minister who is more in charge, so what will be the role of the president?”
Officials have set up a stage in Bridgetown’s Heroes Square, where the festivities will be held.
More than a dozen people contacted by Reuters declined to be interviewed on the subject of the creation of the republic, saying they did not know enough to comment on it.
This change has no effect on trade or the overall economic condition of the island. Barbados’ tourism industry, a significant part of its economy, was battered by coronavirus travel restrictions.
And supply-chain disruptions in the post-pandemic era have driven up prices in a country where the cost of living has always been high due to the cost of importing consumer goods.
“I think everyone is more concerned about their dollar today and what it means for tomorrow, especially with things going up in price,” said Laurie Callender, 43, an information technology expert. “People are talking more about it, in my opinion.”
(Reporting by Julio-César Chavez in Bridgetown; Writing by Brian Ellsworth; Editing by Daniel Wallis)