The Prime Minister of Barbados (PM) acts as the head of Barbados’ government. The Prime Minister is responsible for the administration of the government. The position of PM holds is of the most powerful roles in the country.
Barbados’ Heads of Government and their terms of office:
Premier – Pre-Independence
– Incumbent – Tenure – Political Affiliation
— Grantley Herbert Adams – February 1st, 1954 – April 17th, 1958 BLP
— Hugh Gordon Cummins – April 17th, 1958 – December 8th, 1961 BLP
— Errol Barrow – December 8th, 1961 – November 18th, 1966 DLP
– Prime Minister – Elected – Incumbent – Tenure – Political Affiliation
— Errol Barrow – October 18th, 1966 – September 8th, 1976 – DLP
— J.M.G.M (Tom) Adams – September 8th, 1976 – March 11th, 1985 – BLP
— Bernard St. John – March 11th, 1985 – May 29th, 1986 – BLP
— Errol Barrow – May 29th, 1986 – June 1st, 1987 – DLP
— Erskine Sandiford – June 1st, 1987 – September 7th, 1994 – DLP
— Owen Arthur – September 7th, 1994 – January 16th, 2008 – BLP
— David Thompson – January 16th, 2008 – October 23rd, 2010 – DLP
— The Honourable Freundel Jerome Stuart, Incumbent – October 23rd, 2010 – DLP (current)
Ilaro Court is the official residence of the Prime Ministers of Barbados. This historic coral-limestone mansion is located at Two Mile Hill, St. Michael. Ilaro Court is open to the public during the Barbados National Trust’s annual “Open House Tours“. You can learn more about the people of Barbados.
Barbados has one of the oldest Westminster-style parliaments in the western hemisphere. The office of the Governor and a council were established in 1627, with the House of Assembly constituted in 1639 (then known as the House of Burgesses). Upon independence, the council was replaced with a Senate.
The island recognizes Queen Elizabeth II as their monarch or ‘Chief of State’. The monarch’s domestic representation is filled by the Governor General (GG). Prior to independence, the post of Governor General was titled simply ‘Governor‘.
The DLP led Barbados into independence from the UK in 1966 after achieving full self governance in 1961. The Constitution was ratified on November 30th 1966.
Prior to Barbados’ Independence, the title for this post was known as ‘Premier‘. Following Independence and the adoption of a representative democratic government system, the position was referred to as Prime Minister.
The Government of Barbados is organized as a representative democracy with the Parliament of Barbados acting as the supreme legislative body in the country. Bicameral in structure, Barbados’ parliament is divided into an appointed Senate and an elected House of Assembly led by the Prime Minister.
Today, Barbados is divided into 30 constituencies. During General Elections, representatives from each constituency are voted into the House of Assembly by their constituents for 5 year terms. Eligibility to vote in elections is based on universal adult suffrage.
There are three major political parties:
— Barbados Labour Party (BLP)
— Democratic Labour Party (DLP)
— Peoples Empowerment Party (PEP)
The party winning the most seats becomes the lead party. The leader of the winning party (assuming he has also won a seat in the Assembly) becomes the Prime Minister. Should the reining party leader not win entry into the House of Assembly during the legislative elections, the party must elect another to take his place as head of government.
It is the responsibility of the Prime Minister to:
— Act as Head of Government and head of the executive branch for Barbados
— Select his government ministers, including the Deputy Prime Minister
— Provide leadership and direction to government with the support of the House of Assembly
— Provide advice to the monarch / Chief of State regarding appointment of a Governor General
— Provide advice to the GG on the selection of 12 of the 21 senators comprising the Senate
— Although general elections must be held at least every five years, the Prime Minister advises the GG on when to dissolve government
— Advises the monarch and Governor-General on how to execute their executive powers over government operations and foreign affairs.
By: Brett Callaghan