Barbados Governor General Sandra Mason to become the island’s first President

Barbados lawmakers on Wednesday elected 72-year-old Governor General Dame Sandra Prunella Mason to be the first-ever President as the island prepares to end political relations with Britain and adopt a Republican status on November 30, independence day.

All but one of the lawmakers present at the joint sitting of the two Houses of Parliament voted in favor of Dame Sandra, who had been appointed by both Prime Minister Mia Mottley and Opposition Leader Bishop Joseph Atherley to replace Queen Elizabeth II in Barbados. ‘ Head of state.

Opposition Senator Caswell Franklyn left the joint session of Parliament held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Center after opposing his appointment. His walkout came after House Speaker Arthur Holder read a letter from Prime Minister Mottley advising him of the joint appointment,

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“I have an objection, Mr. President,” he said, the President replying that “in accordance with the Constitution, I therefore suspend this meeting”.

The two Houses of Parliament then split up to meet in separate rooms to vote by secret ballot on the issue.

However, when voting began in the Senate, Franklyn raised another objection – this time about the ballots.

“This document has no validity. It comes out of nowhere ”, he declared, the President of the Senate, Reginald Farley, answering“ I found it valid ”.

“You cannot take anything that has no constitutional or legislative basis to be valid, sir,” said Franklyn, adding “you will not treat me that way today. I will not stand it. You will have to me. put out.

But the Senate Speaker reminded lawmakers that Parliament sets its own voting rules.

Had there been no objection, Dame Sandra would have been declared the first duly elected President of Barbados, in accordance with article 14 of the Constitution.

Dame Sandra was born January 17, 1949 in East Point, St. Philip, and was educated at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus in Barbados, and Hugh Wooding Law School in Trinidad, where she obtained a Bachelor of Laws degree (LL.B) in 1973 and Certificate of Legal Education in 1975.

She became the first Barbadian lawyer to graduate from Hugh Wooding Law School and in 998 she took a court administration course at RIPA, London, and an alternative dispute resolution course at the University of Windsor. , Canada and Stitt Field Hendy Houston ADR Ltd. in 2000.

In 2001, she completed a Fellowship at the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute, Canada, and Advanced Courses in Alternative Dispute Resolution at the University of the West Indies and the University of Windsor, Canada.

Dame Sandra began her career as a teacher at Princess Margaret High School. She left teaching and worked at Barclays Bank DCO, Barbados, and was promoted to Trust Administrator for the period 1975-1976. She then transferred to Barclays Bank Jamaica Ltd., then returned to Barbados and continued her banking career with Barclays Finance Corporation.

In 1978, she began working as a magistrate in the juvenile and family court, while teaching family law courses at UWI after a brief stint as a lawyer in private practice. She served on the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child from its inception in 1991 until 1999, as chair and vice-chair.

She was also one of two women appointed to the 13-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Commission to Assess Regional Integration.

She is a member of numerous civic and Commonwealth organizations, including the Chairperson of the Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitration Tribunal (CSAT) in the United Kingdom; Chairman of the Community Legal Services Commission; Member of the Judicial and Legal Services Commission; Member and former vice-president of the Royal Commonwealth Society.

Dame Sandra was also Ambassador to Venezuela, Chile, Colombia and Brazil for the period 1993-1994. Upon her return to Barbados, she was appointed Chief Justice and later became the Clerk of the Supreme Court.

She continued to serve as the Registrar of the Supreme Court until 2005, when she was appointed to the Domestic Bar of Barbados as Queen’s Counsel. Later that year, she was appointed a High Court judge of the Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court where she served until 2008 when she was sworn in as the first female judge of the Court of appeal from the Supreme Court of Barbados.

On January 1, 2014, she became the first Barbadian to be appointed to the Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal (CSAT), based in London, England. In 2017, she became the first female president of this tribunal.

Dame Sandra is also interested in reading, scrabble, cricket and travel. However, her greatest achievement is being the mother of her son Matthew, who is also a lawyer.



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