Government of Barbados

Monarchy of Barbados Constitution of Barbados Economy of Barbados
Office of the Prime Minister of Barbados on Bay Street, Bridgetown, Barbados. (c.a. November 2000)

The Government of Barbados (GoB), is symbolically headed by the monarch, Queen Elizabeth II as Head of State.[1] She is represented in the country by the Governor-General, currently Dame Sandra Mason, 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, 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 at 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 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 an 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.

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 Democratic Labour Party (DLP) held office 1966 to 1976, from 1986 to 1994, and from January 2008 to 2018. The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) governed from 1976 to 1986, from September 1994 – 2008 and has formed the government from 2018–Present.

Executive branch

The Executive Branch of government conducts the ordinary business of government. These functions are called out by the Prime Minister and cabinet ministers. The prime minister chooses the ministers of government they wish to have in the cabinet but they are actually appointed by the governor general.

List of Government Ministries, Ministers and Permanent Secretaries

Ministry Minister Responsible Permanent Secretary
Prime Minister's Office Hon. Mia Mottley, Q.C., M.P (Prime Minister) Ms. Alies Jordan (acting)
Ministry of the Public Service Hon. Mia Mottley, Q.C., M.P Ms. Gail Atkins
Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment Hon. Mia Mottley, Q.C., M.P

Hon. Ryan Straughn, M.P (Finance)

Hon. Marsha Caddle, M.P (Economic Affairs and Investment)

Ms. Nancy Headley (Finance)

Mr. Alyson Forte (Economic Affairs and Investment)

Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott

Hon. Sandra Husbands, M.P (Foreign Trade)

Ms. Simone Rudder
Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs Hon. Dale Marshall, Q.C., M.P Ms. Yvette Goddard
Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training Hon. Santia Bradshaw, M.P Ms. Betty Alleyne Headley
Ministry of Home Affairs Hon. Edmund Hinkson, M.P Ms. Deborah Payne (Acting)
Ministry of Health and Wellness Lt. Colonel Hon. Jeffery Bostic, M.P Ms. Janet Philips
Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security Hon. Indar Weir, M.P Mr. Terry Bascombe (Acting)
Ministry of Labour and Social Partnership Relations Hon. Colin Jordan, M.P Dr. Karen Best
Ministry of Housing, Lands and Rural Development Hon. George Payne, Q.C., M.P

Hon. Charles Griffith, M.P (Minister in the Ministry)

Mr. Timothy Maynard
Ministry of International Business and Industry Hon. Ronald Toppin, M.P Ms. June Chandler
Ministry of Tourism and International Transport Hon. Kerrie Symmonds, M.P Ms. Donna Cadogan
Ministry of Youth and Community Empowerment Hon. Adrian Forde, M.P Ms. Yolande Howard
Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs Hon. Cynthia Forde, J.P, M.P Ms. Gabrielle Springer
Ministry of Small Business, Entrepreneurship and Commerce Hon. Dwight Sutherland, M.P Mr. Esworth Reid
Ministry of Environment and National Beautification Hon. Trevor Prescod, M.P Ms. Daphne Kellman
Ministry of Energy and Water Resources Hon. Wilfred Abrahams Mr. Andrew Gittens (Renewable Energy)

Ms. Francine Blackman (acting)

Ministry of Transport, Works and Maintenance Hon. William Duguid, M.P

Hon. Peter Phillips, M.P (Minister in the Ministry)

Mr. Mark Cummins (acting)
Ministry of Creative Economy, Culture and Sports Hon. John King, M.P Mr. Jehu Wiltshire
Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy Hon. Kirk Humphrey, M.P Ms. Sonia Foster (acting)
Ministry of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology Senator Kay McConney Mr. Charley Browne (acting)
Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and Public Affairs Senator Lucille Moe Ms. Sandra Phillips

Legislative Branch

Under Barbados' version of the Westminster system of government, the executive and legislative branches are partly intertwined. The only official Cabinet office (other than Prime Minister) expressly mentioned in the Constitution of Barbados is Office of the Attorney-General.


The Constitution of Barbados is the supreme law of the nation.[4] The Attorney General heads the independent judiciary. Historically, Barbadian law was based entirely on English common law with a few local adaptations. At the time of independence, the Parliament of the United Kingdom lost its ability to legislate for Barbados, but the existing English and British common law and statutes in force at that time, together with other measures already adopted by the Barbadian Parliament, became the basis of the new country's legal system.

Legislation may be shaped or influenced by such organisations as the United Nations, the Organization of American States, or other international bodies to which Barbados has obligatory commitments by treaty. Additionally, through international co-operation, other institutions may supply the Barbados Parliament with key sample legislation to be adapted to meet local circumstances before enacting it as local law.

New acts are passed by the Barbadian Parliament and require royal assent by the Governor-General to become law.

Judicial branch

The Judiciary is the legal system through which punishments are handed out to individuals who break the law. The Judiciary also settles disputes. The Functions of The judiciary: °To Enforce Laws °To interpret Laws °To conduct court hearings °To hear court appeals

The local court system of Barbados is made up of:


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

See also


  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, Royal.gov.uk Archived January 16, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ The Queen and the Commonwealth, Royal.gov.uk Archived February 29, 2012, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ The official Constitution of Barbados (1966) version.
  5. ^ a b "Law Courts of Barbados". Lawcourts.gov.bb. Archived from the original on 15 August 2009. Retrieved 4 July 2010.