Barbados Elects First President, Replacing UK Queen as Head of State
Bajan voters elected a former British Foreign Secretary as their first president since 1979 on Saturday, replacing Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state.
Richard Branson, a famous British businessman, and two Democratic Socialists were among the candidates for the post, along with candidates from the major political parties.
Labour’s High Commissioner, Charles Wilkinson, said there was no connection between Wilkinson’s appointment and the Queen’s retirement. The Queen has said she will step down from the role when her reign ends.
The next steps for Wilkinson are to become the country’s “consul-general in London” and to “serve as overseas territorial commissioner in Barbados” in relation to the various United Kingdom territories.
The highly anticipated election to become president of Barbados marks the end of the Queen’s 53-year reign.
The last time a president was elected in Barbados was in 1979, when Edward Connell was put in place by the British government.
It was unclear whether the Barbadian taxpayer would foot the bill for Branson’s $155,000 post as president.
“Mr. Branson is not a British citizen but there have been published reports suggesting that he may well pay some sort of tax on the income he will generate as foreign minister.
“That would make him liable for taxation in Barbados,” a European diplomatic source told the Telegraph.
Meanwhile, Wilkinson won his seat, while opposition forces abstained from votes.
In its statement, the Barbados government didn’t announce who its deputy candidates were.
Officials are scheduled to swear-in Branson and Wilkinson at a ceremony Tuesday morning at state House.
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This article originally appeared in The Telegraph.