During the presidential inauguration ceremony at Bridgetown on Monday night, November 29, Dame Sandra Mason was sworn in as president of Barbados.
American-Barbadian singer and business mogul, Rihanna, was also honored as the 11th National Hero during the event which coincided with the country’s 55th anniversary of independence.
The guest of honor was Britain’s Prince Charles, who acknowledged the “appalling atrocity of slavery” the Caribbean island suffered under colonial rule.
In his speech at the event, Prince Charles reiterated the continuing ties between the two nations despite the constitutional status change.
The Prince of Wales described the moment as a new beginning before being awarded the prestigious Order of Freedom of Barbados by the new president.
The Queen sent the country her “warmest good wishes” for “happiness, peace and prosperity in the future” and said the nation holds a “special place” in her heart.
Dame Sandra Mason, 72, the island’s governor-general since 2018, was named as president-elect of the nation following a vote in parliament last month.
After being sworn in on Monday, Mason who now replaces Queen Elizabeth as the head of state, said, “Vessel Republic Barbados has set sail on her maiden voyage. May she weather all storms and land our country and citizens safely on the horizons and shores which are ahead of us.”
Barbados Declares Rihanna A National Hero
The Barbadian Prime Minister, Mia Mottley, in a speech, highlighted the singer’s achievements, saying, “Commanding the imagination of the world through the pursuit of excellence, her creativity, her discipline, and above all else, her extraordinary commitment to the land of her birth.
“Having satisfied that Ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty has given service to Barbados which has been exemplified by visionary and pioneering leadership, extraordinary achievement and the attaining of the highest excellence to the Government of Barbados.”
Mottley added, “My Government has the distinct honour of recommending to the president who has kindly and graciously accepted that Ambassador Robyn Rihanna Fenty shall have conferred upon her the order of National Hero of Barbados.”
“May you continue to shine like a diamond and bring honour to your nation by your works, by your actions,” Mottley told Rihanna, a reference to her 2012 chart-topping single “Diamonds.”
KanyiDaily recalls that Forbes revealed that Rihanna had overtaken Beyoncé, Madonna and Celine Dion for the title of the world’s richest female musician.