Barbados Postal Service

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Barbados Postal Service − B.P.S.
Public Service
IndustryPostal administration, Postal services, courier
Founded1852; 167 years ago (1852)
HeadquartersGeneral Post Office (GPO)
Cheapside Main Rd.
Bridgetown, St. Michael BB11000
Area served
Barbados (18 Mail Districts) / Worldwide
Key people
Margaret Ashby, (Postmaster General)
ServicesLetter post, parcel service, EMS, delivery, freight forwarding, third-party logistics, Logistics
Number of employees

The Barbados Postal Service (B.P.S.) is the national postal operator of Barbados and operates as a department within the Government of Barbados where it reports to the Ministry of Home Affairs.[1][2] The Barbados Postal Service (B.P.S.) is headed by the Postmaster General, Margaret Ashby, who is responsible for maintaining the island’s postal services, subject to the laws of the island. In 1852, the Postal services for Barbados were reconstituted following the passage of local legislation enabling the delivery of inland postage.

As under the Post Office Act the postal service is empowered to process express mail and parcel post items independent of HM (Barbados) Customs, including the collection of duties and taxes on behalf of H.M. Customs for low value, low dutiable items.[3]


Historic pillar box (mail box) in Warrens with royal cypher of "E R"

Barbados has one of the world’s oldest postal services. In 1663, during the reign of Charles II, England’s imperial Post Office established a Packet Agency on the island.

Barbados was the second territory in the British West Indies to establish an Inland Post Service by an Act of Parliament. The local legislature passed the Post Office Act in 1851.

Unlike many of the other Caribbean nations, British stamps were never used for any domestic delivery postage in Barbados. The first issue of “Barbados” stamps was placed on sale on April 15, 1852, when the local Post Office also commenced its operations. It is this date on which the anniversary of the Inland Post is celebrated.

An Act of Parliament in 1854, served to fully amalgamate the former U.K. founded Imperial Packet Agency and the Inland Post Office created specifically for local service. By 1858 the Packet Agency's name and role were retired and all mail received became the responsibility of the colonial Barbados Postmaster.

Ever an innovator, the Barbados Post introduced Registration and Money Order Services in 1861.

For 112 years the Parliament Buildings of Barbados were the headquarters of the Barbados Postal Service from 1872 to 1984. At this location, there were a number of firsts for the Barbados Post.

  • In 1874 the first stamps with values were introduced.
  • In 1881 the first wall posting boxes were erected.
A historic wall posting box at St. Davids (Anglican) Church.

Over the 100 years in which the Post Office was headquartered in the Parliament Buildings, the Barbados Postal Service has made a valuable contribution to the social, economic and educational development of Barbados.

In the early 1900s when scores of Barbadians emigrated to the United States and Panama (Afro-Panamanian), and again in the 1950s, when there was also large scale immigration but to England, the Post was the primary means of facilitating communication between the migrants and their families in Barbados.

In those years, the Post was the only Agency through which families received letters, gift parcels, and cash remittances from their relatives overseas.

The Parcel Post Department served as the means by which many of the dry goods and hardware stores imported their stock in that era.

A legacy of the British Empire is the use of some iconic historical pillar boxes (mail boxes) with the official cypher of the Barbadian monarch, although after political independence their further roll-out has slowed.

Post World War History[edit]

When World War II occurred, Barbados was not unscathed and as a result of the War, a special department known as the Censor Office was created in 1939. This office was located in a room under the Senate in the Parliament Buildings, and there all incoming and outgoing overseas mail, which showed no sign of being censored, was intercepted. Letters and packets were opened to determine their content. Any reference to the movement of ships was blotted out to protect ships traveling in the region from espionage and then the mail was resealed with a special Censor Label.

The migratory periods during the 20th Century were very profitable periods for the Barbados Post with records showing that in the 1950s, British Postal Orders paid to Barbadians exceeded $3 million.

Self-governance era[edit]

In 1958, Robert Clarke, became the first local Colonial Postmaster of Afro-Caribbean ancestry, had the foresight to introduce a shift system and extended business hours in order to better manage the increased business activity of the Post Office.

In an effort to contribute to the personal and professional development of postal workers, departmental training courses for clerical staff, Postal Assistants and Postmen were introduced in 1961.

On 11 November 1967, after being represented prior as British territory, Barbados became a full member of the UPU as a sovereign nation.

The Barbados Philatelic Bureau within the Postal Service was established in 1968 for the purpose of promoting the sale of postage stamps in the very lucrative market worldwide.

Following exposure to international developments in the postal service as a result of participation in conferences around the world, a highly specialised International Postal Affairs branch was introduced. This division was to be headed by a knowledgeable and experienced senior postal official. In 1971 therefore, a post of Assistant Postmaster General responsible for international postal affairs was established and Mr. Lloyd Weekes was appointed to the position on August 16, 1971.

As a result of involvement in the UPU, Barbados was able to host its first international postal conference, the pre-Congress Commonwealth Conference of Postal Administrations (CCPA), from September 2 to 5, 1979. This meeting served as preparation for the 1979 Postal Union Congress in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during September and October.

In 1984 the Barbados Government, for the first time, authorised the Postmaster General to sign the Acts of the Hamburg Congressad referendum” in addition to the Minister with responsibility for the postal services. Prior to this Congress, only the Minister was authorised to sign the Acts of Congress.

Another significant development in Barbados’ postal services was the introduction of the Express Mail Service to the USA and the United Kingdom from October 1, 1984.[5] The idea to develop this service to attract new business and retain old customers came as a result of a Barbados delegation’s attendance at an International Express Mail Service Conference in Washington in 1983. This prompted Barbados to negotiate its first Express Mail Agreements with the USA and the UK during 1984.

Today, in spite of competition from commercial delivery services, the Barbados Post boasts of door-to-door delivery to 90,000 households in Barbados; thus contributing to a reputation for highly developed postal service for all citizens.

This reputation made Barbados one of the region’s leaders in postal policy.

Postal codes[edit]

Barbados started introducing a new postcode system in 2006 and have gradually expanded it throughout the country. The postal code prefix is required for mail now originating from abroad as all codes have the format: [BB]NNNNN. The alphanumerical code goes to the right of the city/parish. I.e. for the General Post Office it would be:

Address example[edit]

Typical older full address example(s) New Format
title addressee
street/building/complex name
[neighborhood], town/city, parish
"Barbados, [British] West Indies"
title addressee
street/building/complex name
[neighborhood], town/city BBNNNNN


GPO Complex, in Bridgetown at Cheapside

The Barbados Postal Service maintains 18 District Post Offices across the country of Barbados.[6] These locations help to service the approximately 160 household mail delivery routes across the country.

District post office Main landmark/Road Populated area Parish Postal code
Airport[7] Grantley Adams Int'l Airport
Airport Service Rd.
Seawell Christ Church BB16000
Bridgetown Cruise Terminal Deep Water Harbour (Cheapside), Bridgetown St. Michael BB11000
Brittons Hill Brittons Hill St. Michael BB14000
Parish Of Christ Church Oistins Christ Church BB17000
Eagle Hall President Kennedy Dr. Eagle Hall St. Michael BB12000
General (Main) Cheapside Main Rd. (Cheapside), Bridgetown St. Michael BB11000
Parish Of St. Andrew Belleplaine St. Andrew BB25000
Parish Of St. George Glebe Police Station complex The Valley St. George BB19000
Parish Of St. James Police Station Complex Holetown St. James BB24000
Parish Of St. John Four Rds. Example St. John BB20000
Parish Of St. Joseph Eric Holder Jr. Municipal Complex
Tamarind Hall
Blackmans St. Joseph BB21000
Parish Of St. Lucy Benthams St. Lucy BB27000
Parish Of St. Peter Speightstown St. Peter BB26000
Parish Of St. Philip Emerald City Complex
Six Cross Rds.
Six Roads St. Philip BB18000
Parish Of St. Thomas Welchman Hall St. Thomas BB22000
Welches Road Welches Rd. Welches St. Michael BB13000
West Terrace N.C.F. Complex West Terrace St. James BB24000
Worthing Worthing Main Rd. Worthing Christ Church BB15000

General Post Office complex[edit]

Jackie Opel Amphitheatre

On September 24, 1979, the then Minister of Communications and Works, the Hon. Lindsay Bolden turned the sod at the Cheapside location to signal the start of construction of the GPO's new headquarters. At a cost of $16 million, the complex, which was designed by Architect Mervyn Awon initially, was awarded by contract to Sir Robert McAlpine Limited, a British company. However, that contract was terminated and a new one was awarded to a Guyanese company, A. Nabi and Sons Limited.

After completion, the government of Barbados opened the General Post Office (GPO) complex at Cheapside, Bridgetown; for business on October 29, 1984. It was not however officially opened until March 29, 1985 by Minister of Information and Culture, Senator the Hon. Nigel A. Barrow. The GPO complex includes an open-aire amphitheatre which is dedicated to Barbadian musician and creator of Spouge music, Jackie Opel. At the center of amphitheater a wall plaque which was unveiled on August 29, 1998 by the then Minister of Home Affairs, the Hon. David Simmons to commemorate this dedication.

In September 2014 the Caribbean Postal Union in collaboration with the Universal Postal Union (UPU) established the Caribbean Postal Training Centre, located in the General Post Office building at Cheapside, Bridgetown. It serves as a training nexus for international postal administrations from across the Caribbean.[8]



To process and deliver communications, goods and financial services. Locally and internationally in a secure, reliable, timely and economical manner.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ UPU Status and Structures of Postal Administrations pgs. 1-2
  2. ^ Ministry of Home Affairs: Barbados, Commonwealth of Nations Nexus Network
  3. ^ BPS, Barbados Electronic Single Window at the GoB.
  4. ^ Annual Report of the Postmaster General, By United States Government, Post Office Department
  5. ^ EMS Barbados, EMS Unit - Universal Postal Union
  6. ^ The Post Offices of Barbados,
  7. ^ Airport Post Office, GAIA
  8. ^ New Caribbean Postal Training Centre starts operations,

Further reading[edit]

  • Postal Service, Barbados Pocket Guide
  • Research was provided by Mr. Lloyd Weekes, Postmaster General (from 1983-1985)
  • Carrington, Sean; Fraser, HenryC (2003). "Parliament". A~Z of Barbados Heritage. Macmillan Caribbean. pp. 146–147. ISBN 0-333-92068-6.
  • BBA - Barbados Postal Service English Parcel Post Compendium - English (Updated January 8, 2017)
  • BBA - Barbados Postal Service French Parcel Post Compendium - French (Updated January 8, 2017)
  • Barbados, Status and structures of postal entities, U.P.U.
  • Graham Rhind Barbados. Global Sourcebook for International Data Management at

External links[edit]