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Barbados Republic Getty.jpg

Barbados Got Rid of the Monarchy Then Made Rihanna a National Hero

By Kayleigh Donaldson | Politics | November 30, 2021 |

By Kayleigh Donaldson | Politics | November 30, 2021 |

Barbados Republic Getty.jpg

What do you do when you finally decide as a nation to get rid of all your colonialist bullsh*t? You bring in the Rihanna Navy, of course!

After 396 years, the island of Barbados became the world’s newest republic as it cut ties from the last dregs of the British Empire. On midnight of last night, the Royal Standard flag representing the Queen was lowered over a crowded Heroes Square in Bridgetown and replaced with the new flag of the republic. Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as the country’s first-ever President. Prince Charles was there to watch over the transition, noting in a speech that ‘The creation of this republic offers a new beginning.’ Rihanna, a Barbados native who maintains strong ties with her home country, also attended the ceremony and was declared a national hero. Beats having a monarch any day.

The colonization of Barbados was particularly brutal, even by the murderous standards of imperialism. David Comissiong, the country’s ambassador to Caricom, a Caribbean regional integration body, told the Guardian, ‘It was in Barbados that the slavery plantation production model was invented.’ The nation’s population today of around 300,000 is overwhelming descended from enslaved Africans. A study of the Newton Slave Burial Ground found the average life expectancy of those examined was 18 years old. The scars of slavery exist across the country to this day, as well as the other West Indies nations that continue to have the British Queen as their head of state. Richard Drax, a Conservative MP, still owns a plantation in Barbados, the one where his family made their fortune from enslaved Africans. It should come as no surprise that Drax wrote in June 2020 that rioters linked to the Black Lives Matter protests had been responsible for desecrating The Cenotaph war memorial in London.

The current number of Commonwealth realms - countries that continue to have the queen as their head of state - is now 15. That includes Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and several Caribbean countries. Republicanism is growing among many of these nations. The two main political parties in Jamaica support breaking away from the British monarchy.

As a Brit who is a fully signed-up member of Team Abolish the Monarchy on Liz 2’s home turf, I’m obviously all in favor of this. Screw all the smarmy little Englanders who think that not wanting to be tied to your colonizers is ‘abandoning tradition’ or whatever the current right-wing defense is. There’s no reason we should continue to uphold this archaic and deeply racist and classist institution. You can’t modernize a monarchy, no matter how many times you put your boring princesses in high-cost gowns and get them to vaguely acknowledge important issues. To support royalty is to support white supremacy and imperialistic rot. Stick that on your sh*tty Union Jack tea-towel.

Abolish the monarchy and reparations now!

Kayleigh is a features writer and editor for Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter or listen to her podcast, The Hollywood Read.

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