Ilaro Court

Ilaro Court (pronounced: il’larō kôrt) is the official residence of the Prime Minister of Barbados. Mia Amor Mottley, QC, MP, EGH, OR is a Barbadian politician and attorney who is the current Prime Minister of Barbados and the Barbados Labour Party leader. Mottley is the eighth (8th) person to hold the position of Prime Minister in Barbados and the first woman to hold either position.

Ilaro Court was designed and built in the early 1920s by Lady Gilbert Carter, an American artist whose husband Sir Gilbert Thomas Carter was Governor of Barbados from 1904 to 1911. The name Ilaro was derived from a town in Nigeria where the Governor was stationed when he was an officer. This gracious mansion built of local coral-limestone successfully combines Edwardian, Italian, and Caribbean architectural features into a distinctive and individualistic whole; it boasts the first swimming pool in Barbados — in which Prince Edward the Prince of Wales bathed when he visited Barbados. The large, park-like garden has a gazebo, fishpond, and orchid house.

The property was purchased in the 1980s by the then Barbados Labour Party government under Prime Minister The Rt Hon. “Tom” Adams and was set to be a cultural center. Still, the Cabinet decided to move the Prime Minister’s official residence from Culloden Farm, where it had been under Errol Barrow, and make Ilaro Court the prime minister’s official residence. The house was extensively refurbished throughout the early years of the 1980s and filled with antique furniture, mostly made by the talented prisoners of the Glendairy prisons. In 1984 Tom Adams and his family moved into the residence officially and made it their home; unfortunately, however, Tom Adams died a year later of a heart attack in the study.

Thereafter, all persons who held the office of Prime Minister in Barbados stayed at the residence, except Rt Hon. Errol Barrow (later Rt. Excellent). Among the Prime Ministers who stayed at the residence was the Rt. Hon. J.M.G.M. “Tom” Adams, the Hon. Bernard St. John, the Rt Hon Lloyd Erskine Sandiford later Sir. Lloyd, the Rt Hon. Owen Arthur, the Hon. David Thompson, who, in May 2010, moved back to his St. Philip residence after he had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, subsequently dying on 23 October 2010. The resident who preceded the current Prime Minister Mia Mottley was the Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart (2010-2018).

The property is maintained by the Barbados National Trust, which ensures that all historic buildings are kept in a decent state of repair, preserving as much of Barbados’ history as possible. At various times of the year, the National Trust organizes tours to the mansion so locals and visitors alike can see where the government’s head spends most of his time.

Ilaro Court is now used primarily for official state functions and other events like Carols by Candlelight. The current Prime Minister, the Honourable Mia Mottley, has not indicated whether she will reside at Ilaro Court.

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