World’s youngest republic: Barbados brings forward general elections


Status: 01/19/2022 11:07 a.m

Elections are held in Barbados – earlier than planned. Criticism comes from the opposition: the early elections would exclude 5,000 people who have to stay at home because of Corona.

By Anne Demmer, ARD Studio Mexico City

Visitors say that a stroll through the capital of Barbados is immediately reminiscent of Great Britain. In the center of Bridgetown there is even a miniature version of London’s Trafalgar Square. The colonial past is still visible today. Barbados was under British rule until 1966. On November 30 last year, the small Caribbean state went one step further and finally broke away from the British crown.

Jordan Brown, 30, said it certainly depends on who you ask – “but the average Barbadian is certainly proud that our country has broken ties with itself and is now embarking on a journey towards independence”.

Other states could follow suit

Other states could follow suit, observers predict. So Queen Elizabeth II is no longer the head of state of the former British colony of Barbados. Nevertheless, according to political analyst Peter Wickham, the crown did not play a major role in everyday politics. “It wasn’t relevant to the political power structure. People won’t really notice the Queen’s absence.”

Prime Minister: Defend security

Today the elections are to take place in what is currently the youngest republic in the world, despite a new Covid wave. The reason for the early parliamentary elections was the split, Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced in a televised speech at the end of last year.

We’re drifting apart. But we must agree on a common direction, united behind one government and united behind one leadership. We need this unity to defend our security, our development and our growth.

Mia Mottley has been Prime Minister since 2018.

Image: REUTERS

The next election should not have taken place until next year. In the 2018 election, Mottley’s Labor Party won all seats in the House of Commons and currently holds 29 of the 30 seats.

Election polls predict she will still win a comfortable majority with her Labor party losing at most a few seats to the opposition Democratic Workers’ Party. She accuses her of excluding around 5,000 Barbadians with the early elections, who have to stay at home because of the rampant omicrom variant.

Economic consequences of the pandemic

The big issues before the elections were the pandemic and the economic consequences for the Caribbean country, which depends primarily on tourism. For the 55-year-old employee Dennis Chalender it is important that something is done against unemployment: “Many school leavers are unemployed and that means that there is more crime. The schools have to improve. That is one of the most important issues for me in the elections.”

Rihanna is not running

Barbados-born singer Rihanna was declared a national hero in late November after her homeland seceded from the Crown. Her fans had suggested on social networks to make her the new head of state. But of course things turned out differently: State governor Sandra Mason was elected president by parliament and Rihanna is not running for any post in the current elections either. For her fans she still remains the real Queen of Barbados.

World’s youngest republic: Barbados brings forward general elections

Anne Demmer, RBB, 19.1.2022 09:44 a.m


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