Government and Legal System

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Capital City of Barbados

Bridgetown, St. Michael



Held every five (5) years (Due by 2018).


Administrative Divisions

Barbados is divided into 11 parishes. They are:

— Christ Church
— St. Andrew
— St. George
— St. James
— St. John
— St. Joseph
— St. Lucy
— St. Michael
— St. Peter
— St. Philip
— St. Thomas.

Use the Barbados Map to learn more.



On 30th November 1966, Barbados gained its independence from the United Kingdom.



The constitution was ratified on November 30th 1966. It is interesting to note that Barbados has one of the oldest Westminster-style parliaments in the western hemisphere. It has been in existence for 369 years.



18 years of age; universal



Chief of State: Queen Elizabeth II (since Feb.6th 1952).

Governor General: Sir Elliot Belgrave (since June 1st 2012). This person is not elected, but is appointed by The Monarch (Head of State).

Head of Government: The Hon. Freundel Stuart, Q.C. M.P (since May 2010). The Prime Minister is usually the leader of the majority party and is appointed by the Governor-General of Barbados.

The Senate: This is the upper house and consists of seven members who are chosen by the Governor General, 12 by the Prime Minister and two by the Leader of the Opposition.

The House of Assembly: The House of Assembly has 30 members. The political party that has the most members, currently the Democratic Labour Party, constitutes the government. The members of the House of Assembly are voted for by the public of Barbados every five years.

ElectionsHouse of Assembly – These general elections do not have fixed dates, but must be called within five years of the opening of parliament following the last election. Earlier elections can occur in certain situations. Having been a British colony, the elections system is fashioned after the British system. The elections were last held on February 21, 2013 and the next will be held in 2018


Executive Powers

The Cabinet

This is the Prime Minister and a minimum of 5 Ministers who are appointed by the Governor General on advice of the Prime Minister.

Leader of the opposition

Appointed by the Governor General, and usually holds the party’s majority views.

The Privy General

Appointed by the Governor General and The Prime Minister.


Judicial Branch

Supreme Court of Judicature

Judges are appointed by the Service Commissions for the Judicial and Legal Services.


Political Parties and Leaders

Democratic Labour Party (DLP) – Leader: The Hon. Freundel Stuart. This party has been in power since Jan 2008, and is considered to be a social democratic party.

Barbados Labour Party (BLP) – Leader: Rt. Hon. Mia Mottley. This party is ideologically similar to the Democratic Labour Party.

Peoples Empowerment Party Peoples Empowerment Party (PEP) – Leader: David Comissiong. This is the ‘leftist’ party.


Unions and Leaders

Barbados Workers Union

Union of Public Workers- General Secretary Denis Clarke / Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners – President Dr. Carlos Chase.

Legal System

Barbados’ legal system is derived from English common law and statutes. The courts administer the laws of Barbados, which consist solely of local legislation.

The judicial system comprises a lower Magistrates court and the Supreme Court, which includes a Court of Appeal and a High Court.

The Attorney General is responsible for the administration of the legal and judicial system.

Final appeal from Barbadian courts used to be to the Privy Council in England.

Since the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), based in Trinidad and Tobago, the CCJ is now the final court of appeal.

Information assumed accurate on March 20th, 2013.

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