Today, Monday 30 November Barbados celebrates 54 years of independence. It was the passing of the Barbados Independence Act by the UK Parliament in 1966 that put the seal on that momentous event.
Barbados was the fourth English-speaking country in the West Indies to gain full independence from the United Kingdom, following Jamaica, Trinidad & Tobago and Guyana. The independence ceremony in 1966 saw Barbados’ national flag raised for the first time, and it was also the first time the national anthem was sung.
Errol Barrow became the first Prime Minister of Barbados. The island became part of the Commonwealth of Nations, with Queen Elizabeth II remaining as head of state, represented locally by the Governor-General. The country plans to become a republic next year.
Throughout November a range of events and activities have been taking place to mark independence. According to Prime Minister Mia Mottley, the 2020 celebrations are intended to “show off the country to the world’’ and will display the best of what Barbados has to offer. “It must be a genuine reflection of who and what they are [and] what they stand for,” she said.
On Saturday 28 November a seven-hour 54th Virtual Independence celebration was held called We Still Gatherin’ Barbados Happy Independence, if you missed it check YouTube for a recording.
On Independence Day itself an impressive parade is held at the Garrison Savannah racecourse, which was the site of that first independence ceremony in 1966.
Soca News joins Barbados in their celebration of 54 years of Independence.