(Reuters) – Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Mottley on Monday called for a snap general election to be held on Jan. 19, just weeks after the Caribbean country became a republic.
A former British colony that gained independence in 1966, Barbados in October elected Sandra Mason to the country’s first-ever president to replace Britain’s Queen Elizabeth as head of state. Mason was sworn in as president on Nov. 30.
In a 37-minute address broadcast on her social media accounts, Mottley said she wanted to hold the election to bring the island nation of just under 300,000 people together as it fought to overcome the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Fellow citizens and longstanding residents, the date on which you shall go to the polls and elect your next government and your next leader to lead this country through Omicron, to lead this country through the difficult times that we are still managing, through COVID and back to social and economic harmony and prosperity, to lead this country to be in world class is January the 19th, 2022,” Mottley said.
Calls for full sovereignty and homegrown leadership had risen in recent years in Barbados, leading it to end its long maintained ties with the British monarchy.