Barbados, Dame Sandra Mason, Barney Gumble discussed on Monocle 24: The Briefing
Sure. If you're a Simpsons character, who would you be? I'm going to say most Isla. I love most is like. I would have to say it wouldn't be Barney gumble. That's for sure. I mean, I think I would be groundskeeper Willie. Agreed. Glad we talked about this. And you Tom? It's got to be Homer. I can see that. I can see Tom. Thank you so much, that is Monica's Tom Edwards. Now the world is today. One republic richer. As Barbados celebrates its first day of full sovereignty. Yesterday, dame Sandra mason was confirmed as the island's first president. Prince Charles attended the ceremony to mark the country's historic break with British imperial rule. Take a listen. From the darkest days of our past and the appalling atrocity of slavery, which forever stains our history, the people of this island forge their path with extraordinary fortitude Emancipation, self government and independence where your waypoints, freedom, justice and self determination have been your guides. In his speech, the Prince of Wales also reaffirmed the close partnership between Barbados and the United Kingdom. Earlier, Monaco Fernando Augusto Pacheco spoke to Victor Fernandez, chairman of capital media in Barbados and the longest serving elected president of the Caribbean broadcasting union. He started by asking Victor whether this decision had been politically divisive in Barbados. I don't think it's terribly divisive, really. I mean, politically, you will always get people on the opposing side. That is your job to oppose I suppose. But look, this has been the subject of two national consultations. There was the Cox commission of 19 79. And then there was the sir Henry Ford's commission of 19 99, which was the subject of widespread national consultations on the whole question of Barbados, new constitution, Barbados becoming a republic and that sort of stuff. And so on. So I don't really think there's been some talks some chatter from some sources that perhaps you should have put it to a referendum. But I mean, if this has been the subject of so many national consultations over such a long period, there's been no real protests or anything like that. More of the discussion is centered around the charger of Barbados and the references to God being now the creator, but the prime minister has been a pain to point out that this is not illegally binding document. This is not the constitution, and that the preamble to the constitution, which references God has not changed and will not be changed. So overall, I would say that there has been pretty widespread acceptance. We did some vox pop interviews over the last couple of days. And everybody was very much supportive. But there's not this euphoric kind of feeling in the country. It's very kind of calm. I guess as the activities continue the celebratory activities and we've had quite a few over the last couple of days, there is some excitement building. And as you've said, Victor, it's all been done fairly peacefully. I mean, Prince Charles was attending the ceremony as well. So I think Barbados, I mean, we remain quite a close ally to the United Kingdom in that sense, right? Well, absolutely. And, you know, it was really kind of folly on the part of a British member of parliament to actually sit that Barbados was quote unquote selling out to China, whatever that meant. And then you had a lead writer in The Sunday Times, I believe, erroneously stating that Barbados was leaving the Commonwealth. But I mean, this does not leave in the common laws. It very much remains a part of the Commonwealth much like other Caribbean countries that are republics, much like Trinidad and Tobago and Dominica. And they're likely to be others that will follow to as well. But will remain part of the Commonwealth of countries and Barbados association relationship with the United Kingdom remains firmly strong. We welcome more British visitors to Barbados on an annual basis. Right now our hotels are overpopulated with British visitors. So that is not going to change in any way shape or fashion. And Victor, what can you tell us about the new head of states Barbados first president dame Sandra mason? Incredible woman incredible career. But what can you tell us about her and what would be her relationship with the prime minister as well? Well, the role of the president like the governor general is largely ceremonial. The head of state is the titular head of state. The prime minister remains as the political arm of the country. But look, let's talk about David Sandra mason for a moment. She's highly respected, comes from a rural family, a rather large family in the parish of saint Philip. The people from saint Philip, I think there are more nationalistic than most people in Barbados. They refer to themselves as philippians and to the republic of saint Philip. In fact, they've been using that term for a very long time. She's an attorney by training. She was a magistrate. She's highly respected in her field. She was acclaimed by all sites when invited to become the governor general of barbadoes. And it was with you unanimous acclamation that she was also invited to be the first president of the republic. I was going to ask, especially in the Caribbean, I would say, do you think other countries will follow the lead of Barbados on the decisions become a republic? Absolutely. Absolutely. I mean, it's pretty much inevitable. You know, it's part of a process of delinking from the colonial past. There is no disrespect to the monarch or to her successes. In fact, as we speak this morning, Prince Charles is being accorded the highest national honor along with the governor general, former governor general, now president will be the recipient of the freedom of Barbados award, which is the highest award possible under the new Republican form of governance. That in itself should send a message. Now, for me, you may have deduced from my comments that I am very much in favor of Barbados becoming a republic. But it didn't make a lot of sense to me, for example. Let's take Barbados sends an ambassador to Washington. That ambassador could not take up his or her responsibilities. Unless they first had a letter signed by the queen saying, I approve this appointment of my ambassador to Washington. It doesn't make a lot of sense, does it? So I don't think in the normal scheme of things is going to be a lot of change in terms of our daily lives, but it does give you that sense of being now a completely independent of your former colonial master. That is Victor Fernandez, chairman of capital media in Barbados, speaking to Monaco senior correspondent Fernando Augusta Pacheco. You are listening to the briefing.