Government of Barbados

The Government of Barbados (GoB), is a unitary parliamentary republic, where the President of Barbados represents as the head of state and the Prime Minister of Barbados represents as the head of government.

Government of Barbados
Parliamentary Republic
Formation30 November 1966 (1966-11-30)
Founding documentConstitution of Barbados
Office of the President
Head of StatePresident of Barbados
SeatState House
Legislative branch
Meeting placeParliament Buildings
Executive branch
Head of GovernmentPrime Minister of Barbados
AppointerPresident of Barbados
HeadquartersIlaro Court
Main organCabinet of Barbados
Departments19 Ministries
Judicial branch
CourtSupreme Court of Barbados
SeatSupreme Court of Barbados Complex


Simplification of the government structure of Barbados

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 President, 12 on the advice of the Prime Minister, two on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition, and seven at the President'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, meaning that all political power rests with the Parliament under a non-political President as head of state. Executive authority is vested in the President, who normally acts only on the advice of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, who are collectively responsible to Parliament."Constitution (Amendment) (No. 2) Act, 2021" (PDF). Parliament of Barbados. 2021. Archived (PDF) from the original on 2022-10-09. Retrieved 29 October 2021. 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 President, as advised by the Prime Minister.

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

The President 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 President, 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.


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.

Between 1966 and 2021, the head of state of Barbados was the Monarchy of Barbados represented by the Governor-General of Barbados as its representative. After decades of republicanism, the monarchy was abolished and replaced with a new head of state office, the President of Barbados, on 30 November 2021.

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 President.

  • Heads of State
    • President
  • Head of Government
    • Prime Minister
    • Attorney General's
    • Ministers
Office Office Holder Constituency Political Party
Prime Minister
Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, with responsibility for Culture, Security, Public Service, Caricom and Development Commissions
Mia Mottley St. Michael North East Barbados Labour Party
Deputy Prime Minister
Senior Minister
Minister of Transport, Works and Water Resources
Sanita Bradshaw St. Michael South East
Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs
Senior Minister Governance
Dale Marshall St. Joseph
Minister of Energy and Business Development
Senior Minister
Kerrie Symmonds St. James Central
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
Senior Minister, Social and Environmental Policy
Jerome Walcott N/A (Senator)
Senior Minister in the Prime Minister's Office, with responsibility for Infrastructure and Town Planning Matters William Duguid Christ Church West
Minister of Homes Affairs and Information Wilfred Abrahams Christ Church East
Minister of Agriculture, Food and Nutrition Security Indar Weir St. Philip South
Minister of Tourism and International Transport Ian Gooding Edghill St. Michael West Central
Minister for the Public Service, Home Affairs, Labour and Gender Affairs Lisa Cummings N/A (Senator)
Minister of Education, Technological and Vocational Training Kay McConney St. Philip West
Minister of Housing, lands and Maintenance Dwight Sutherland St. George South
Minister of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs Kirk Humphrey St. Michael South
Minister of the Environment and National Beautification and Blue Economy Adrian Forde Christ Church West Central
Minister of Labour, Social Security and Third Sector Colin Jordan St. Peter
Minister of Industry, Innovation, Science and Technology Davidson Ishmael St. Michael North
Minister of Youth, Sports and Community Empowerment Charles Griffith St. John
Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development Ryan Straughn Christ Church East Central
Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Chantal Munroe Knight N/A (Senator)
Minister of State in the Ministry of Health and Wellness Sonia Browne St. Philip North
Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Ministry of Business Development Sandra Husbands St. James South

Source: St.Lucia Times

Parliamentary Secretaries
Office Office Holder Constituency Political party
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Transport, Works and Water Resources, with responsibility for Water Resources Rommel Springer St. Andrew Barbados Labour Party
Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs Corey Layne City of Bridgetown

Source: St.Lucia Times

Permanent Secretaries
Ministerial Office Position Office Holder
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade HEAD OF THE PUBLIC SERVICE, DIRECTOR-GENERAL OF FOREIGN TRADE Louis Woodroffe
Prime Minister's Office PERMANENT SECRETARY Ms. Alies Jordan
Ministry of the Public Service DIRECTOR GENERAL (HUMAN RESOURCES) Ms. Gail Atkins
Ministry of Finance, Economic Affairs and Investment PERMANENT SECRETARY Ms. Nancy Headley
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade PERMANENT SECRETARY Ms. Simone Rudder
Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs PERMANENT SECRETARY Ms. Yvette Goddard
Ministry of Education, Technological and Vocational Training PERMANENT SECRETARY Ms. Betty Alleyne Headley
Ministry of Home Affairs PERMANENT SECRETARY Ms. Deborah Payne
Ministry of Health & Wellness PERMANENT SECRETARY Ms. Janet Philips
Ministry of Agriculture and Food Security PERMANENT SECRETARY Mr. Terry Bascombe
Ministry of Labour and Social Partnership Relations PERMANENT SECRETARY Dr. Karen Best
Ministry of Housing, Lands and Rural Development PERMANENT SECRETARY Mr. Timothy Maynard
Ministry of International Business and Industry PERMANENT SECRETARY Ms. June Chandler
National Insurance Department DIRECTOR Ms. Jennifer Hunte
Ministry of Tourism and International Transport PERMANENT SECRETARY Ms. Donna Cadogan
Ministry of Youth and Community Empowerment PERMANENT SECRETARY Ms. Yolande Howard
Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs PERMANENT SECRETARY Ms. Gabrielle Springer
Ministry of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship PERMANENT SECRETARY (SPECIAL ASSIGNMENTS) Mr. Andrew Gittens
Ministry of Environment and National Beautification PERMANENT SECRETARY Ms. Daphne Kellman
Ministry of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship PERMANENT SECRETARY (SMALL


Ms. Francine Blackman
Ministry of Transport, Works and Maintenance PERMANENT SECRETARY Mr. Mark Cummins
Prime Minister's Office PERMANENT SECRETARY (CULTURE) Mr. Jehu Wiltshire
Ministry of Maritime Affairs and the Blue Economy PERMANENT SECRETARY Ms. Sonia Foster
Ministry of Innovation, Science and Smart Technology PERMANENT SECRETARY Mr. Charley Browne
Ministry of Information, Broadcasting and Public Affairs PERMANENT SECRETARY Ms. Sandra Phillips
Cabinet Office CABINET SECRETARY Mrs. Cecile Humphrey
Ministry of Energy, Small Business and Entrepreneurship PERMANENT SECRETARY (Small Business and Entrepreneurship) Mr. Esworth Reid

Source: BGIS

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.

  • President
  • Chief Secretaries (Abolished)
  • Auditors-General
  • Senators
    • Presidents of the Senate
  • Members of the House ( a/k/a Members of Parliament)
    • Speakers of the House of Assembly
  • Clerks of Parliament


The Constitution of Barbados is the supreme law of the nation.[1] 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 approval by the President to become law. The President, has the power to "withhold assent" from laws by vetoing the proposed law without parliamentary override.[2]

Judicial branch

The judiciary is the legal system through which punishments are handed out to individuals who break the law. The functions of the judiciary are to enforce laws; to interpret laws; to conduct court hearings; to hear court appeals.[3]

The local court system of Barbados is made up of:

  • Magistrates' Courts: Covering Criminal, Civil, Domestic, Domestic Violence, and Juvenile matters. But can also take up matters dealing with Coroner's Inquests, Liquor Licences, and civil marriages. Further, the Magistrates' Courts deal with Contract and Tort law where claims do not exceed $10,000.00.[4]
  • The Supreme Court: is made up of High Court and Court of Appeals.[4]
    • High Court: Consisting of Civil, Criminal, and Family law divisions.
    • Court of Appeal: Handles appeals from the High Court and Magistrates' Court. It hears appeals in both the civil, and criminal law jurisdictions. It may consist of a single Justice of Appeal sitting in Chambers; or may sit as a Full Court of three Justices of Appeals.
  • The Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ), (based in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago), is the court of last resort (final jurisdiction) over Barbadian law. It replaced the London-based Judicial Committee of the Privy Council (JCPC). The CCJ may resolve other disputed matters dealing with the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME).
  • Chief Justices
    • Justices of Appeals
    • Magistrates


Transparency International ranked Barbados as 29th place (of 180) in the world on its Corruption Perceptions Index in 2021, being the least corrupt country in the Caribbean.[5]

See also


  1. The official Constitution of Barbados (1966) version.
  2. Constitution of Barbados, Section 58(3)
  3. "About the Judicial System | Barbados Judicial System". Retrieved 2021-01-10.
  4. "Law Courts of Barbados". Archived from the original on 15 August 2009. Retrieved 4 July 2010.
  5. "Barbados maintains strong ranking in Corruption Perception Index". Barbados Today. 2022-01-26. Retrieved 2022-03-08.

Further reading

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