Constitution of Barbados

Barbados Barbados Independence Act 1966 Monarchy of Barbados
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The Constitution of Barbados is the supreme law under which Barbados is governed.[1] The Constitution provides a legal establishment of the structure and various roles of administration of the Queen of Barbados (often referred to as The Crown, and represented by the Governor-General), the Government of Barbados, as well as legal rights and responsibilities of the public and various other government officers. The Constitution which came into force in 1966 was amended in 1974,[2] 1978, 1990, 1992, 1995, 2002, and 2003.[3][4] The 1966 document succeeds several other documents concerning administration of Barbados. One of them, the Barbados Charter, is discussed in the present Constitution's Preamble. Prior statutes were created for the administration of Barbados as a colony. As a former English and later British colony, the Constitution is similar to those of other Commonwealth realms, yet distinctly different in the spirit of the Statute of Westminster. In recent years there has been some dialogue on whether Barbados should undertake a process of patriating the constitution to cease the foundation being a 1966 Act of the British House of Commons.[5]


Early history

In 1625 the English landed at Barbados and carved the term 'For King James of E. and this island' on a tree, then some personal items were left behind, and the ship's crew returned to England to notify The Crown and to seek initial settlers. In 1627 the initial settlers landed at Barbados and formed a colony based entirely on common law. As the population of Barbados grew a General Assembly was created and began to draft laws. After conflict in England erupted during the English Civil War, and large numbers of English settlers moved to Barbados, the General Assembly began the practice of creating a distinctly Barbados-based administration.

Recent history

As a constituent province of the West Indies Federation, Barbados became independent of the United Kingdom on 30 November 1966 under the Barbados Independence Act 1966. Elizabeth II issued an Order in Council, the Barbados Independence Order 1966, which formally enacted the present constitution.


The Constitution may be amended by Act of Parliament. Amendments to certain defined clauses require the support of two thirds of all the members of each House.[6]

Some amendments


The Constitution of Barbados, is divided into a preamble, 10 parts and four schedules.[13] They are set out as below.


According to the Constitution:

Now, therefore, the people of Barbados:

Chapter 1: The Constitution

Chapter 2: Citizenship

Comprises sections 2-10.

      • Persons who become citizens on 30 November 1966
      • Person entitled to be registered as citizens
      • Persons born in Barbados after 29 November 1966
      • Persons born outside Barbados after 29 November 1966
      • Marriage to citizen of Barbados
      • Renunciation of citizenship
      • Commonwealth citizens
      • Powers of Parliament
      • Interpretation

Chapter 3: Protection of Fundamental Rights and Freedoms of the Individual

Comprises sections 11-27. (Based upon European Convention on Human Rights)

      • Fundamental rights and freedoms of the individual
      • Protection of right to life
      • Protection of right to personal liberty
      • Protection of freedom of expression
      • Protection of freedom of assembly and association
      • Protection of freedom of movement
      • Protection from discrimination on grounds of race, etc.
      • Enforcement of protective provisions
      • Time of emergency
      • Saving of existing law
      • Interpretation

Chapter 4: The Governor-General

Comprises sections 28-34.

      • Establishment of office of Governor General
      • Acting Governor General (Emergency vacancy provisions by Queen, Chief Justice, President of Senate, or appointment of current sitting G.G.)
      • Deputy to Governor General
      • Personal staff of Governor - General
      • Exercise of Governor - General's functions
      • Oaths to be taken by Governor General

Chapter 5: Parliament

Largest chapter, covering sections 35-62.

PART 1: Composition of Parliament

Comprises sections 35-47.

      • Establishment of Parliament
      • Senate
        • Qualifications for membership of Senate
        • Disqualifications for membership of Senate
        • Tenure of seats of Senators
        • President and Deputy President of Senate
      • House of Assembly
        • Electoral law
        • Qualifications for membership of the Assembly
        • Disqualifications for membership of the Assembly
        • Tenure of seats of members of Assembly
      • Determination of questions of membership of Senate and Assembly
      • Filling of Casual Vacancies in Senate and Assembly

PART 2: Powers and Procedure of Parliament

Comprises sections 48-59.

      • Power to make laws
      • Alteration of this Constitution
      • Regulation or procedure in Parliament
      • Presiding in Senate
      • Quorum of Senate
      • Voting in Senate
      • Introduction of Bills, etc.
      • Restriction on powers of Senate as to Money Bills
      • Restrictions on powers of Senate as to Bills other than Money Bills
      • Provisions relating to section 54, 55 and 56
      • Assent to Bills
      • Oath of allegiance
      • Session of Parliament

PART 3: Summoning, Prorogation and Dissolution

Comprises sections 60-62.

      • Prorogation and Dissolution of Parliament
      • General Election and Appointment of Senators

Chapter 6: The Executive Powers

Sections 63-79(A).

      • Executive authority of Barbados
      • Cabinet
      • Appointment of Ministers
      • Tenure of office of Ministers
      • Performance of Prime Minister's functions in certain events
      • Temporary Ministers
      • Oaths to be taken by Ministers
      • Presiding in Cabinet
      • Governor General to be informed concerning matters of government
      • Assignment of responsibilities to Ministers
      • Parliamentary Secretaries
      • Leader of the Opposition
      • Certain vacancies in office of Leader of Opposition
      • Privy Council
      • Proceedings of Privy Council
      • Prerogative of Mercy
      • Establishment of office of Attorney-General and functions of Director of Public Prosecutions

Chapter 7: The Judicature

Comprises sections 79(B)-88.

PART 1: The Caribbean Court of Justice, the Supreme Court and the Magistrate’s Courts

Sections 79(B)-84.

      • Establishment of Supreme Court
      • Appointment of Judges
      • Acting Judges
      • Oaths to be taken by Judges
      • Tenure of office of Judges


Sections 85-88. • Right to appeal judicial decisions, decisions of CCJ are final and cannot be appealed or enquiry in any tribunal or other court.

Chapter 8: The Public Service

Comprises sections 89-106.


Sections 89-92(§3).

      • Establishment and composition of Judicial and legal Service Commission
      • Establishment and composition of Public Service Commission
      • Establishment and composition of Police Service Commission
      • Procedure of Commissions


Sections 93-102.

      • Appointment, etc., of judicial and legal officers
      • Appointment, etc., of public officers
      • Delegation of powers under section 94
      • Appointment, etc., of members of the Police Force
      • Delegation of powers under section 96
      • Appeals to privy Council in disciplinary matters
      • Appointment of permanent secretaries and certain other public officers
      • Appointment, etc., of principal representatives abroad and subordinate staff
      • Appointment, etc., of Director of Public Prosecutions
      • Appointment, etc., of Auditor General


Sections 103-104.

      • Protection of pension rights
      • Grant and withholding of pensions, etc.


Sections 105-106.

      • Removal from office of certain persons
      • Protection of Commissions, etc., from legal proceedings

Chapter 9: FINANCE

Sections 107-113.

      • Consolidated Fund
      • Estimate
      • Authorization of expenditure
      • Meeting expenditure from consolidated Fund
      • Public debt
      • Remuneration of Governor General and certain other officers
      • Establishment of office and functions of Auditor-General


Sections 114-117.

      • Appointments
      • Resignations
      • Vacation of office on attaining a prescribed age
      • Interpretation


SECOND SCHEDULE - Provisions Relating to Certain Tribunals

Sections 1-11.


Sections 1-2.

    1. The electorate shall, so far as practicable, be equal in all constituencies: Provided that the electorate in any constituency shall, so far as practicable, not exceed 115%, nor be less than 85%, of the total electorate divided by the number of constituencies.
    2. Natural boundaries such as highways and rivers shall be used wherever possible.

See also


  1. ^ Constitution of Barbados, Chapter 1, Section 1.
  2. ^ 1974 Amendment
  3. ^ 2003 Amendment
  4. ^ Constitutional amendments
  5. ^ Brandford, Albert (21 September 2014). "PURELY POLITICAL: Scottish lessons?". Nation Newspaper. Archived from the original on 18 October 2014. Retrieved 13 October 2014.
  6. ^ "Barbados 1966 (rev. 2007), Sections 48 and 49". Constitute.
  7. ^ Source:
  8. ^ Supplement to Official Gazette, 1990-07-05, No. 17, pp. 1-5
  9. ^ Source: Supplement to Official Gazette, No. 18, pp. 1-2
  10. ^ Source: Official Gazette, Supplement, 1995-03-06, p. 2
  11. ^ Source: Official Gazette, 2002-09-05, No. 74, pp. 1-3
  12. ^ Source: Official Gazette, 2003-04-24, No. 34, pp. 1-8
  13. ^ "Barbados 1966 (rev. 2007)" (PDF). Constitute. Retrieved 24 March 2020.