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Barbados Government - 2024


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Country name

conventional long form: none

conventional short form: Barbados

etymology: the name derives from the Portuguese "as barbadas," which means "the bearded ones" and can refer either to the long, hanging roots of the island's bearded fig trees or to the alleged beards of the indigenous Carib inhabitants

Government type

parliamentary republic; a Commonwealth realm


name: Bridgetown

geographic coordinates: 13 06 N, 59 37 W

time difference: UTC-4 (1 hour ahead of Washington, DC, during Standard Time)

etymology: named after a bridge constructed over the swampy area (known as the Careenage) around the Constitution River that flows through the center of Bridgetown

Administrative divisions

11 parishes and 1 city*; Bridgetown*, Christ Church, Saint Andrew, Saint George, Saint James, Saint John, Saint Joseph, Saint Lucy, Saint Michael, Saint Peter, Saint Philip, Saint Thomas


30 November 1966 (from the UK)

National holiday

Independence Day, 30 November (1966)


history: adopted 22 November 1966, effective 30 November 1966; Constitution (Amendment) (No. 2) Bill, 2021 establishes Barbados as a republic and revokes the earlier Order in Council

amendments: proposed by Parliament; passage of amendments to constitutional sections such as citizenship, fundamental rights and freedoms, and the organization and authorities of the branches of government requires two-thirds majority vote by the membership of both houses of Parliament; passage of other amendments only requires a majority vote of both houses; amended several times, last in 2021

note: following the transition to a republic in November 2021, the Government of Barbados in February 2022 began the process of establishing a constitution commission to review a new draft constitution

Legal system

English common law; no judicial review of legislative acts

International law organization participation

accepts compulsory ICJ jurisdiction with reservations; accepts ICCt jurisdiction


citizenship by birth: yes

citizenship by descent only: yes

dual citizenship recognized: yes

residency requirement for naturalization: 5 years


18 years of age; universal

Executive branch

chief of state: President Sandra MASON (since 30 November 2021)

head of government: Prime Minister Mia MOTTLEY (since 25 May 2018)

cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the president on the advice of the prime minister

elections/appointments: president elected by an electoral college of both Houses of Parliament for a 4-year renewable term; election last held on 20 October 2021 (next to be held in); following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or leader of the majority coalition usually appointed prime minister by the president; the prime minister recommends the deputy prime minister

election results: Sandra MASON elected as first president on 20 October 2021

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
Senate (21 seats statutory - 21 current; members appointed by the president - 12 on the advice of the prime minister, 2 on the advice of the opposition leader, and 7 at the discretion of the president; members serve 5-year terms)
House of Assembly (30 seats; members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote to serve 5-year terms)

Senate - last appointments on 4 February 2022 (next appointments in February 2027)
House of Assembly - last held on 19 January 2022 (next to be held in January 2027)

election results:
Senate - appointed: BLP 12, independent 9; composition as of January 2024 - men 13, women 8, percent of women 38.1%
House of Assembly - percent of vote by party - BLP 69%, DLP 26.5%, other 4.5%; seats by party - BLP 30; composition as of August 2023 - men 22, women 8, percent of women 26.7%; note - total Parliament percent of women 32.7%

note: tradition dictates that the next election is held within 5 years of the last election, but constitutionally it is 5 years from the first seating of Parliament plus a 90-day grace period

Judicial branch

highest court(s): Supreme Court (consists of the High Court with 8 justices) and the Court of Appeal (consists of the High Court chief justice and president of the court and 4 justices; note - in 2005, Barbados acceded to the Caribbean Court of Justice as the final court of appeal, replacing that of the Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (in London)

judge selection and term of office: Supreme Court chief justice appointed by the president on the recommendation of the prime minister and opposition leader of Parliament; other justices appointed by the president on the recommendation of the Judicial and Legal Service Commission, a 5-member independent body consisting of the Supreme Court chief justice, the commission head, and presidential appointees recommended by the prime minister; justices serve until mandatory retirement at age 65

subordinate courts: Magistrates' Courts

Political parties and leaders

Alliance Party for Progress or APP [Joseph ATHERLEY]
Barbados Labor Party or BLP [Mia MOTTLEY]
Democratic Labor Party or DLP [Ronnie YEARWOOD]

International organization participation


Diplomatic representation in the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Noel Anderson LYNCH (since 11 January 2019)

chancery: 2144 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008

telephone: [1] (202) 939-9200

FAX: [1] (202) 332-7467

email address and website:

consulate(s) general: Miami, New York

Diplomatic representation from the US

chief of mission: Ambassador Roger F. NYHUS (since 19 January 2024) note - also accredited to Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines

embassy: Wildey Business Park, St. Michael BB 14006, Barbados, W.I.

mailing address: 3120 Bridgetown Place, Washington DC  20521-3120

telephone: (246) 227-4000

FAX: (246) 431-0179

email address and website:

Flag description

three equal vertical bands of ultramarine blue (hoist side), gold, and ultramarine blue with the head of a black trident centered on the gold band; the band colors represent the blue of the sea and sky and the gold of the beaches; the trident head represents independence and a break with the past (the colonial coat of arms contained a complete trident)

National symbol(s)

Neptune's trident, pelican, Red Bird of Paradise flower (also known as Pride of Barbados); national colors: blue, yellow, black

National anthem

name: "The National Anthem of Barbados"

lyrics/music: Irving BURGIE/C. Van Roland EDWARDS

note: adopted 1966; the anthem is also known as "In Plenty and In Time of Need"

National heritage

total World Heritage Sites: 1 (cultural)

selected World Heritage Site locales: Historic Bridgetown and its Garrison

NOTE: The information regarding Barbados on this page is re-published from the 2024 World Fact Book of the United States Central Intelligence Agency and other sources. No claims are made regarding the accuracy of Barbados 2024 information contained here. All suggestions for corrections of any errors about Barbados 2024 should be addressed to the CIA or the source cited on each page.

This page was last modified 04 May 24, Copyright © 2024 ITA all rights reserved.