News + Politics

Barbados is now a Republic with Rihanna as its newest National Hero – who’s next for the TCI?

This week Prime Minister Mia Mottley announced that 33-year-old megastar Rihanna would be the 11th and youngest-ever National Hero of her hometown of Bridgetown, Barbados.

However, this wasn’t the country’s only reason to celebrate. The country ended 396 years of British sovereignty with a handover ceremony at midnight on Monday; saying goodbye to the Monarchy and hello to being the world’s newest Republic. The country witnessed former Governor Sandra Mason sworn in as its first-ever president during the celebrations.

Mia Mottley (left) announcing the conferment of superstar Rihanna (centre) as Barbados' newest National Hero. Credit: CNN
Mia Mottley (left) announcing the conferment of superstar Rihanna (centre) as Barbados’ newest National Hero. Credit: CNN

What does this mean for Barbados?

This era in Barbados history will mean less visible change for the country. This change is of a more symbolic nature. It sees Barbados leave its British colonial past behind, this includes 200+ years of being a hub for the transatlantic slave trade.

Finally, they sealed the deal with a final salute to the British monarchy with the Royal Standard flag being lowered and replaced with the Presidential standard.

“Our country must dream big dreams and fight to realise them,” the newly appointed president told all in attendance.

How do you become a National Hero in the TCI?

Certainly, becoming a Republic is undoubtedly not on the top of the agenda for TCI. However, The Right Excellent Robyn Rihanna Fenty’s conferment as Barbados’ latest National Hero made us here at WAVES wonder. When will the Turks and Caicos see another National Hero conferred? Moreover, what are the requirements for such an individual?

The Order of National Hero is the highest award granted to a Turks and Caicos Islander during their lifetime or posthumously. Typically, for extraordinary, outstanding merit and achievement in service to the Turks and Caicos Islands or humanity at large.

The National Honours and Awards Committee (NHAC) decides who receives the Honour of National Hero following a nomination from the public. It’s the exact same process for The Patriotic Award, The Long Service Medal, The Meritorious Award and National Young Achievers Medal.

Who do you think will join the late James Alexander George Smith McCartney (JAGS) as the National Hero of the Turks and Caicos Islands?

Who would you nominate? Leave your candidates in the comments below.

Alique Harvey

Editorial & Media Assistant

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