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Dame Sandra Mason Set to Make History as the First Woman & First President of Barbados

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Dame Sandra Mason

The first-ever president of Barbados is none other than a Black woman who is ready to shake some things up.

Dame Sandra Mason is set the become the first woman and first president, to succeed Queen Elizabeth as head of state, marking a significant step toward shedding the Caribbean island’s colonial past. She will be sworn in on November 30, the 55th anniversary of the country’s independence from Britain.

According to Barbados Today, voting took place during a joint session of the country’s House of Assembly and Senate, and Dame Sandra Mason was chosen by a strong two-thirds vote. The House voted 27-0 while the Senate voted 18-0. She was nominated for president by Prime Minister Mia Mottley and opposition leader Bishop Joseph Atherley.

In stating its intention to become a republic in 2020, the Bajan government said “the time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind.” “Barbadians want a Barbadian head of state. This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving. Hence, Barbados will take the next logical step toward full sovereignty and become a republic by the time we celebrate our 55th anniversary of independence.”

She was the first woman to serve on the Barbados Court of Appeals and is a former jurist who has been governor-general of the island since 2018.

Here are a few interesting facts about Dame Sandra Mason that we discovered.

  • Sandra Prunella Mason was born in East Point, St. Philip, Barbados on January 17, 1949.
  • She began her university studies in 1973 at the University of the West Indies in Cave Hill, Barbados, where she earned a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree. In 1975, she received her Certificate of Legal Education from the Hugh Wooding Law School and became the first female Barbadian to be admitted to the Barbados Bar.
  • Dame Sandra started her teaching career at Princess Margaret Secondary School (1968-1969). She started as a clerk at Barclays Bank DCO in Barbados in 1969-1970 and was promoted to Trust Administrator in 1975-1976. In 1976, she was transferred to Barclay’s Jamaica Ltd. to take up the same job. In the same year, she joined Barclays Finance Corporation of Barbados, where she remained until 1977.
  • From 1991 to 1999, she was a member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, serving as vice-chair from 1993 to 1995 and head from 1997 to 1999. She was the chair of the 13-member CARICOM panel entrusted with examining regional integration between 1991 and 1992, and one of only two women selected to serve on the commission. Mason left the family court in 1992 to become the first female magistrate from Barbados to be appointed to the role of ambassador to Venezuela. She was named Chief Magistrate for Barbados upon her return to the island in 1994, and subsequently became the Registrar of the Supreme Court in 1997.
  • She remained Registrar of the Supreme Court until 2005 when she was appointed Queen’s Counsel to the Barbados Inner Bar. She became the first woman to serve on the Barbados Court of Appeals when she was sworn in as an Appeals Judge in 2008.
  • Queen Elizabeth bestowed the honour and distinction of Dame Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George on Mason as part of her appointment as Governor-General (GCMG).
  • She also became Chancellor and Principal Dame of Saint Andrew when she assumed the post of Governor-General, thanks to the Order of the Dame of Saint Andrew (DA).

Dame Sandra Mason is #BlackGirlMagic personified. Congratulations, both to her and Barbados!

Photo Credit: bwtstories

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