Government of Barbados

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The Government of Barbados (GoB), is headed by the monarch, Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State.[1] Since 1 June 2012, the Queen has been represented by the Governor-General, Sir Elliott Belgrave, G.C.M.G., K.A.[2]

The country has a bicameral legislature and a political party system, based on universal adult suffrage and fair elections. The Senate has 21 members, all appointed by the Governor-General on behalf of the monarch, 12 on the advice of the Prime Minister, two on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition, and seven in the Governor-General’s sole discretion. The House of Assembly has 30 members, all elected. Both houses debate all legislation. However, the House of Assembly may ultimately override Senate's rejection of money bills and other bills except bills amending the Constitution.

Officers of each house (President and Deputy President of the Senate; Speaker, Deputy Speaker, and Chairman of Committees of the Assembly) are elected from the members of the respective houses.

In keeping with the Westminster system of governance, Barbados has evolved into am independent parliamentary democracy and Constitutional monarchy, meaning that all political power rests with the Parliament under a non-political monarch as head of state, which allows stability. Executive authority is vested in the monarch, who normally acts only on the advice of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, who are collectively responsible to Parliament.[3] Barbadian law is rooted in English common law, and the Constitution of Barbados implemented in 1966, is the supreme law of the land.

Barbados PM Freundel Stuart announced that Barbados would become a republic before the 50th Anniversary of independence in 2016.[4] Barbados will replace the Govenor General as head of state with a ceremonial president. However Barbados will still retain association with the crown through membership within the Commonwealth of Nations.

Fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual are set out in the Constitution and are protected by a strict legal code.

The Cabinet is headed by the Prime Minister, who must be an elected member of Parliament, and other ministers are appointed from either chamber by the Governor-General, as advised by the Prime Minister.

The Governor-General appoints as Leader of the Opposition the member of House of Assembly who commands the support of the largest number of members of that House in opposition to the ruling party's government.

The maximum duration of a Parliament is five years from the first sitting. There is a simultaneous dissolution of both Houses of Parliament by the Governor-General, acting on the advice of the Prime Minister.

There is an established non-political civil service. Also, there are separate constitutional commissions for the Judicial and Legal Service, the Public Service, and the Police Service.


A simplified diagram of the Barbados government

The government has been chosen by elections since 1961 elections, when Barbados achieved full self-governance. Before then, the government was a Crown colony consisting of either colonial administration solely (such as the Executive Council), or a mixture of colonial rule and a partially elected assembly, such as the Legislative Council. Since Independence, the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) governed from 1976 to 1986, and from September 1994 – 2008. The Democratic Labour Party (DLP) held office 1966 to 1976, from 1986 to 1994, and has formed the Government January 2008 to present.

Executive branch[edit]

The Prime Minister and Cabinet are appointed from the political party which gains a simple majority in the general elections held in Barbados. These elections constitutionally must be held no longer than every five years apart; however, elections can be called whenever the Government chooses to seek a new mandate or loses a vote of no confidence in Parliament.


Barbados Coat of Arms.svg
This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of

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Portfolio Minister
Prime Minister of Barbados
Head of the Cabinet of Barbados
The Hon. Freundel Stuart
Prime Minister's Office Sen. The Hon. Darcy Boyce
Office of the Attorney General The Hon. Adriel Brathwaite
Ministry of Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Industry and Small Business Development Dr. The Hon. David Estwick
Ministry of Commerce and Trade Sen. The Hon. Haynesley Benn
Ministry of Drainage, Water Resource Management and the Environment Dr. The Hon. Denis Lowe
Ministry of Education and Human Resources Development The Hon. Ronald D. Jones
Ministry of Family, Culture, Sports and Youth The Hon. Stephen Lashley
Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs The Hon. Christopher Sinckler
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Sen. The Hon. Maxine McClean
Ministry of Health The Hon. Donville Inniss
Ministry of Home Affairs The Hon. Adriel Brathwaite
Ministry of Housing, Lands, Urban and Rural Development The Hon. Patrick M. T. Todd
Ministry of International Transport and International Business The Hon. George Hutson
Ministry of Labour Dr. The Hon. Esther Byer-Suckoo
Ministry of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development The Hon. Steven D. Blackett
Minister Of State The Hon. Patrick M. T. Todd
Ministry of Tourism The Hon. Richard L. Sealy
Ministry of Transport and Works The Hon. John D. E. Boyce

Judicial Branch[edit]

Main article: Judiciary of Barbados

Barbados' Courts include the Magistrates' Court, High Court, and Court of Appeal.[5] It is also a member of the Caribbean Court of Justice, and allows some appeals to the Inter-American Court of Human Rights.


Transparency International ranked Barbados as 17th place (of 179) in the world on its corruption perceptions index in 2010, with only 1 nation scoring better in the Americas. ([1])

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Constitution of Barbados: EXECUTIVE POWER (Chapter 6), Section 63. Section 63 of the Constitution says that the executive authority of Barbados shall be vested in Her Majesty the Queen"
  2. ^ The Queen's role in Barbados,
  3. ^ The Queen and the Commonwealth,
  4. ^ Rayner, Gordon.'Barbados PM says island will replace the Queen and move towards republic'.The Telegraph, March 23, 2015., retrieved March 25, 2015
  5. ^ Barbados' criminal court system

Further reading[edit]


External links[edit]