Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley on Saturday announced Governor General Dame Sandra Prunella Mason has been nominated to become the country’s first-ever president when the Caribbean nation becomes a republic.
In September last year, Barbados announced its intention to remove Queen Elizabeth as head of state and replace her with a native Barbadian. The British monarch has been the island nation’s head of state since it gained independence in 1966. But that will likely change by November 30 when the country marks its 55th independence anniversary.
“There is no change to the flag. There is no change to the name of Independence Day; there is no change to the name of Barbados. Barbados is Barbados. We’re not the Commonwealth of Barbados; we’re not the Republic of Barbados; Barbados is Barbados. We are also not changing our pledge,” Mottley assured Barbadians during her address on Saturday, Jamaica Observer reported.
Mottley also confirmed Dame Sandra has agreed to the nomination. She added that Dame Sandra’s nomination will be passed to the country’s lawmakers in the House of Assembly and the Senate to vote on.
In light of the announcement, here are some facts about the soon-to-be president.
The 72-year-old holds a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) degree which she obtained from the University of the West Indies (Cave Hill Campus, Barbados) in 1973. She also obtained a Certificate of Legal Education from the Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad, making her the first female Barbadian lawyer to graduate from the university.
Dame Sandra previously served as an ambassador to Venezuela, Chile, Colombia and Brazil.
A woman of many firsts
Dame Sandra was the first woman to be called to the Barbados bar, Loop Barbados reported. She was also the first magistrate to hold an ambassadorial position and also the first woman to be appointed to the Barbados Court of Appeals. Dame Sandra was also the first Barbadian to be appointed to the Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal.
Former teacher and banker
Dame Sandra worked as a teacher before leaving the profession to take up jobs in the banking industry. She also taught Family Law at the University of the West Indies later in her career.
Dame Sandra has a son who is also an attorney. He’s her only child.