STRASBOURG, Europe — Barbados replaced Britain as its head of state Monday, a familiar enough position for the island if not a highly significant one for a Caribbean country renowned for its understated style.
But Prime Minister Mia Mottley received the formal transfer of power from the Queen as well as the foreign investment-stoking aplomb that has made her a global name in politics.
The 66-year-old promised in her televised speech to “dazzle and unsettle the hearts and minds of the United Kingdom” by continuing a high-level push to provide Barbados with the benefits of trade with the British homeland.
The Commonwealth heads of government meeting was held Feb. 11-14 in the West Indies nation, when there was still a government coalition hanging in the balance.
Mottley won the election late last year but the compromise pact of Patrick Allen of the Barbados Labour Party and David Thompson of the People’s National Movement caused the panel to refer the results to the court, a precedent that will have wider implications.
Mottley did not contest the seat, allowing the court to choose Vice President Prithviraj Sonta as the acting head of state.
He gained a mandate Monday during the speech, in which he said the Caribbean island has the “right to continue to recognize and work with the United Kingdom.”
“These two matters are not part of the sovereign power of the Barbados government, but they are not optional,” he said.