In less than two weeks Barbados will have a new Governor General. She is Madam Justice Sandra Prunella Mason.
Justice Mason, the first female Appeal Court Judge in this country and the first woman to be admitted to the Barbados Bar, will, when she becomes this country’s eighth Governor General, be the second female to hold that honour.
The announcement of her elevation to the office of Governor General came yesterday in a statement from Prime Minister, the Right Honourable Freundel Stuart, who indicated that Her Majesty The Queen, on the recommendation of Her Majesty’s Ministers in Barbados, has been graciously pleased to approve the appointment of The Honourable Sandra Mason as Governor-General of Barbados, with effect from January 8, 2018. Her appointment comes a little over six months since the seventh holder of that office, Sir Elliott Belgrave, retired on July 1, 2017 after five years of service.
“The selection of a Governor General is never an easy task. The selection process must be guided by a range of factors, among them being personal and professional attributes, record of service, commitment to country, integrity and dignity. There are many Barbadians at home and in the Diaspora who could qualify,” the Prime Minister stated.
He added that in keeping with tradition, Her Majesty The Queen has agreed to confer on The Honourable Sandra Mason, the honour and dignity of Dame Grand Cross of the Most Distinguished Order of Saint Michael and Saint George (GCMG). Moreover, he indicated that on assumption of the office of Governor General, the distinguished jurist will, under the Order of the Dame of Saint Andrew, become the Chancellor and Principal Dame of Saint Andrew.
In a statement issued yesterday evening, Leader of the Opposition, Mia Mottley offered congratulations to the new Governor General on behalf of the Barbados Labour Party, describing it as a “crowning achievement” in a long and varied career in public service here, within the region and further afield.
“We are confident that she will bring to her office of Governor General the impartiality which is the hallmark of the other office which she held as a Judicial Officer in this country. Indeed, Ms Mason has had many firsts, being the first female Judge to be appointed to the Barbados Court of Appeal. We look forward to her installation ceremony and to her tenure as Governor General of this great country of ours. The people of St Philip and her family should be justifiably proud of her achievements as a daughter of the soil, as she is now the first person ever from that corridor of the island ever to be appointed to the highest office in the land,” Mottley stated.
The mother of one has had a long and successful legal career, which spans more than three decades. Her accomplishments, apart from the 2008 appointment to the Barbados Court of Appeal, include her appointment as Chief Magistrate in 1994 and Registrar of the Supreme Court in 1997. She has also served as a High Court Judge in the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States and as chairperson of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child. On January 1, 2014, Justice Mason started a four-year term as a member of the Commonwealth Secretariat Arbitral Tribunal (CSAT), based in London, England. She became the first Barbadian to be appointed as a member of the CSAT.
The role of Governor General is not one that Justice Mason is unfamiliar with, having served as acting Governor General from May 30, 2012 to June 1, 2012, when the country prepared to install Sir Elliott Belgrave in that post. The installation ceremony for The Honourable Sandra Mason, will take place on Monday, January 8, 2018 in the Senate Chambers, one week before her 69th birthday.