St Andrew’s Day also marks historic day for Barbados - Readers' Letters

As we approach this St Andrew’s Day (30 November), it is important to note that St Andrew is not only the patron saint of Scotland, but also of the likes of Russia, Romania, Ukraine and the Caribbean island of Barbados.

Barbados will become a republic on 30 November – St Andrew's Day
Barbados will become a republic on 30 November – St Andrew's Day

With a population of less than 300,000, Barbados also celebrates its Independence Day on St Andrew’s Day. In 1966, more than 300 years after the first English settlers arrived on the island in 1627, Barbados became an independent sovereign state.

This year’s St Andrew’s Day in Barbados is doubly important in that it marks the removal of the Queen as head of state and the island becoming a republic, but still within the Commonwealth. Prince Charles will travel to the island for the ceremonies marking the removal of his mother as head of state.

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"The time has come to fully leave our colonial past behind," Barbados Prime Minister Mia Mottley said in a 2020 speech prepared for Governor General Sandra Mason, who will replace the Queen as Barbados' head of state after being elected president.

"This is the ultimate statement of confidence in who we are and what we are capable of achieving."

Though its name will remain simply Barbados, the removal of the monarch from an island, also known as ‘Little England’, may well sow the seeds of republicanism further across the Caribbean.

Alex Orr. Edinburgh

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Alex doesn’t tell the full smelter story

As usual, Alex Cole- Hamilton does not tell the whole story regarding the aluminium smelter at Lochaber (Evening News, 24 November). The Scottish Government guarantee is backed up by security over the smelter, a hydro power station and extensive land holdings. The deal was approved by the Scottish Parliament’s cross-party finance committee in 2016 and saved 160 jobs which has increased to over 200.

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Plans to make alloy wheels failed to materialise partly due to Covid suppressing the demand for new cars but thanks to the high price for metals the smelter is running profitably and they hope to recycle aluminium at the site, producing 80,000 tonnes a year for the construction industry.

The SNP also saved the two threatened steel plants at Dalzell and Clydebridge in Lanarkshire while UK taxpayers are exposed to more than £1 billion of debt via three UK government guarantees to the same Sanjeev Gupta and his parent company that was the only buyer of the UK’s loss-making steel plants.

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Fraser Grant, Edinburgh

Reindeer plea

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After a quiet Christmas in 2020 due to Covid, many people are trying to make this Christmas extra special for their families. Animal Aid are pleased that so many venues are planning fun festive events. Sadly, some events, which will involve live reindeer, will be the source of distress and suffering for those animals.

We know of events with plans to use live reindeer to pull Santa's sleigh in a Christmas parade or to be displayed in pens. Many of these animals will be exposed to bright lights and noisy crowds, with nowhere to hide.These events are not suitable environments for sensitive animals adapted to live in a cold climate, roaming great distances each day, foraging for lichen, herbs and other plants.

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Reindeer do not cope well with the stress of captivity or to being transported up and down the country. These conditions can be hugely stressful and can have severe impacts on the health and welfare of these gentle creatures.

We urge readers to boycott all festive events which involve live reindeer.

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Rachel King , Animal Aid, Tonbridge, Kent

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