Barbados is about to cut ties with the British monarchy to become the world´s newest republic.
Barbados will this week replace its head of state, Queen Elizabeth II, with her current representative, Governor-General Sandra Mason.
The swearing ceremony will take place on Monday evening into Tuesday. It will include military parades and celebrations as Mason is inaugurated as president, with Prince Charles in attendance.
The dawn of a new era has fueled debate among the population of 285,000 over Britain´s centuries of influence, including more than 200 years of slavery until 1834, and Barbados finally becoming independent in 1966.
In October, Barbados elected Mason to become its first president, one year after Prime Minister Mia Mottley declared that the country would “fully” leave its colonial past.
“As a young girl, when I heard about the queen, I would be really excited,” said Sharon Bellamy-Thompson, 50, a fish vendor in the capital Bridgetown who remembers being about eight and seeing the monarch on a visit.
“As I grow older and older, I started to wonder what this queen really means for me and for my nation. It didn’t make any sense,” she said. “Having a female Barbadian president will be great.”