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Congratulations, Barbados

Shedding shackles of a colonial past

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The world has a new republic – Barbados.

The island nation discarded another facet of its colonial legacy. Around four centuries after the first British ships arrived on its shores, enslaved its people, and turned it into a sugar colony, the Caribbean island removed the British monarch as its head of state.

Five and a half decades after winning independence, in a dazzling ceremony replete with song and dance in true Barbadian fashion, the country declared itself free of the monarch and swore in its first elected president. "Full stop this colonial page," Winston Farrell, a Barbadian poet, said at the ceremony.

Barbados is not the first country to do so. But, it hadn't happened in nearly three decades when Mauritius left in 1992. Given the present circumstances, Bridgetown is unlikely to be the last.

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