(CMR) A grand celebration is expected in Barbados at midnight as the country says goodbye to Queen Elizabeth II as head of state, cutting ties to its colonial past and becoming a Republic for the first time in its history. The historical moment comes as Barbadians in Cayman celebrated 55 years of independence over the weekend.
According to the Barbados Government Information Service, a grand cultural celebration and Declaration of the Republic and Installation of the President was slated to start at 7:30 tonight.
The cultural celebration features the debut of the newly-reconstructed National Youth Steel Orchestra, which has 100-plus pan players from ages eight and older.
Under the musical direction of Lowrey Worrell, the orchestra will play many of the traditional Bajan favorites as the country celebrates the island’s 55th year of Independence and its move to a Parliamentary Republic.
Around 11 p.m., there will be the official ceremony with the installation of our first President, Her Excellency Dame Sandra Mason. His Royal Highness Prince Charles Philip Arthur George, Prince of Wales, Duke of Cornwall, who arrived on the island Sunday night, will be present for the ceremony.
After the President is installed and Barbados is officially declared a Republic at the stroke of midnight, a spectacular fireworks display will go off at three significant locations.
The Parliament of the former British colony once nicknamed “Little England” elected its first-ever president in a two-thirds majority vote just over a month ago following a push to become a republic that began more than two decades ago.
Thousands of people are expected to watch the late-night event on TV, listen to it on the radio, or see it in person at a popular square where the statue of a well-known British lord was removed last year amid a worldwide push to eradicate symbols of oppression.
Local events included tape ball cricked which was held on Saturday 27th November at Smith Road oval. There was also some “good ole” souse, conkies and sweet bread for everyone to enjoy while either partaking in or watching the cricket. A DJ was on hand to help make the occasion even more festive.
On Sunday the Bajan community hosted a virtual church service Bajan lunch at St George's Church grounds from 12pm to 130pm.