Government and Legal System

Government and Legal System

Barbados has one of the oldest Westminster-style parliaments in the western hemisphere. The Prime Minister, Mia Amor Mottley, is the head of government. The House of Assembly has 30 members of Parliament (MPs), and the political party that has the most members, currently the Barbados Labour Party, constitutes the government.

The members are voted for by the public every five years and appointed by The Governor-General (GG), who acts as the domestic representative for the Chief or Head of State (Queen Elizabeth II).

Capital City of Barbados

Bridgetown, St. Michael


Every five (5) years, the last Barbados General elections were held in Barbados on May 24th, 2018. The Barbados Labour Party swept all 30 seats in the election, with the first female Prime Minister of Barbados – Mia Amor Mottley

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


The constitution was ratified on November 30th, 1966. Interestingly, 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: Dame Sandra Mason (January 8th, 2018). This person is not elected but is appointed by The Monarch (Head of State).

Head of Government: Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Economic Affairs, and Investment – Mia Amor Mottley

The Senate: This is the upper house and consists of seven members chosen by the Governor-General, 12 by the Prime Minister, and two by the opposition leader.

The House of Assembly: The House of Assembly has 30 members. The political party with the most members, currently the Barbados 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 May 24th, 2018.

Executive Powers

The Cabinet

This is the Prime Minister and a minimum of 5 ministers appointed by the Governor-General on the advice of the Prime Minister.

Opposition Leader

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

The Service Commissions appoint judges for the Judicial and Legal Services.

Political Parties and Leaders

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

Democratic Labour Party (DLP) – Previous Leader: The Hon. Freundel Stuart. This party is considered to be a social democratic 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 administering the legal and judicial system.

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

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

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About Totally Barbados (Edit profile)

Brett Callaghan is the founder and managing director of Totally Barbados. I specialize in writing content for the tourism industry for my island home of Barbados. I help companies build strategies to grow online businesses with SMART marketing, advertising, and social media goals.