Barbados

All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

BARBADOS

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT
TOPOGRAPHY
CLIMATE
FLORA AND FAUNA
ENVIRONMENT
POPULATION
MIGRATION
ETHNIC GROUPS
LANGUAGES
RELIGIONS
TRANSPORTATION
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT
POLITICAL PARTIES
LOCAL GOVERNMENT
JUDICIAL SYSTEM
ARMED FORCES
INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
ECONOMY
INCOME
LABOR
AGRICULTURE
ANIMAL HUSBANDRY
FISHING
FORESTRY
MINING
ENERGY AND POWER
INDUSTRY
SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY
DOMESTIC TRADE
FOREIGN TRADE
BALANCE OF PAYMENTS
BANKING AND SECURITIES
INSURANCE
PUBLIC FINANCE
TAXATION
CUSTOMS AND DUTIES
FOREIGN INVESTMENT
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT
SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT
HEALTH
HOUSING
EDUCATION
LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS
MEDIA
ORGANIZATIONS
TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION
FAMOUS BARBADIANS
DEPENDENCIES
BIBLIOGRAPHY

CAPITAL: Bridgetown

FLAG: The national flag has three equal vertical bands of ultramarine blue, gold, and ultramarine blue and displays a broken trident in black on the center stripe.

ANTHEM: National Anthem of Barbados, beginning "In plenty and in time of need, when this fair land was young."

MONETARY UNIT: Officially introduced on 3 December 1973, the Barbados dollar (bds$) of 100 cents is a paper currency officially pegged to the US dollar. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, and 25 cents and 1 dollar, and notes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollars. bds$1 = us$0.50000 (or us$1 = bds$2; as of 2004).

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is used.

HOLIDAYS: New Year's Day, 1 January; Errol Barrow Day, 23 January; May Day, 1 May; Kadooment Day, first Monday in August; CARICOM Day, 1 August; UN Day, first Monday in October; Independence Day, 30 November; Christmas Day, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable religious holidays are Good Friday, Easter Monday, and Whitmonday.

TIME: 8 am = noon GMT.

LOCATION, SIZE, AND EXTENT

Situated about 320 km (200 mi) nne of Trinidad and about 160 km (100 mi) ese of St. Lucia, Barbados is the most easterly of the Caribbean islands. The island is 34 km (21 mi) long ns and 23 km (14 mi) wide ew, with an area of 430 sq km (166 sq mi) and a total coastline of 97 km (60 mi). Comparatively, Barbados occupies slightly less than 2.5 times the area of Washington, DC.

The capital city of Barbados, Bridgetown, is located on the country's southwestern coast.

TOPOGRAPHY

The coast is almost entirely encircled with coral reefs. The only natural harbor is Carlisle Bay on the southwest coast. The land rises to 336 m (1,102 ft) at Mt. Hillaby in the parish of St. Andrew. In most other areas, the land falls in a series of terraces to a coastal strip or wide flat area.

CLIMATE

The tropical climate is tempered by an almost constant sea breeze from the northeast in the winter and early spring, and from the southeast during the rest of the year. Temperatures range from 2130°c (7086°f). Annual rainfall ranges from about 100 cm (40 in) in some coastal districts to 230 cm (90 in) in the central ridge area. There is a wet season from June to December, but rain falls periodically throughout the year.

FLORA AND FAUNA

Palms, casuarina, mahogany, and almond trees are found on the island, but no large forest areas exist, most of the level ground having been turned over to sugarcane. The wide variety of flowers and shrubs includes wild roses, carnations, lilies, and several cacti. Natural wildlife is restricted to a few mammals and birds; finches, blackbirds, and moustache birds are common.

ENVIRONMENT

Principal environmental agencies are the Ministry of Housing, Lands, and Environment, established in 1978, and the Barbados Water Authority (1980). Soil erosion, particularly in the northeast, and coastal pollution from oil slicks are among the most significant environmental problems. The government of Barbados created a marine reserve to protect its coastline in 1980.

As of 2000, the most pressing environmental problems result from the uncontrolled handling of solid wastes, which contaminate the water supply. Barbados is also affected by air and water pollution from other countries in the area. Despite its pollution problems, 100% of Barbados' urban and rural populations have safe water.

According to a 2006 report issued by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), the number of threatened species included 3 species of birds, 4 types of reptiles, 11 species of fish, 25 other invertebrates, and 4 species of plants. The Barbados yellow warbler, Eskimo curlew, tundra peregrine falcon, and Orinoco crocodile are endangered species. The Barbados raccoon has become extinct.

POPULATION

The population of Barbados in 2005 was estimated by the United Nations (UN) at 258,000, which placed it at number 171 in population among the 193 nations of the world. In 2005, approximately 12% of the population was over 65 years of age, with another 22% of the population under 15 years of age. There were 94 males for every 100 females in the country. According to the UN, the annual population rate of change for 20052010 was expected to be 0.6%, a rate the government viewed as satisfactory. The projected population for the year 2025 was 272,000. The population density was 600 per sq km (1,554 per sq mi).

The UN estimated that 50% of the population lived in urban areas in 2005, and that urban areas were growing at an annual rate of 1.42%. The capital city, Bridgetown, had a population of 140,000 in that year.

MIGRATION

The estimated net migration rate for Barbados in 2005 was -0.31 migrants per 1,000 population. Foreign-born residents are mainly from the other countries in the region, such as St. Lucia, St. Vincent, and Guyana. Extra-regional foreign-born residents are mainly from the United Kingdom, United States, and India. To meet the problem of overpopulation, the government encourages emigration. Most emigrants now resettle in the Caribbean region or along the eastern US coast. As of 2004, Barbados recorded a small refugee population of nine. Barbados was expected to receive greater numbers of asylum seekers in the future due to extra-regional migration to and migrant trafficking through the Caribbean.

ETHNIC GROUPS

About 90% of all Barbadians (colloquially called Bajans) are the descendants of former African slaves. Some 4% are of European descent and about 6% of the population are Asian or of mixed descent.

LANGUAGES

English, the official language, is spoken universally, with some local pronunciations.

RELIGIONS

Christianity is the dominant religion, with over 95% percent of the population claiming Christian affiliation, even if they are not active members of a particular denomination. The largest denomination is the Anglican Church, which has 70,000 members, about 65% of whom are considered active participants. The second-largest denomination is the Seventh-Day Adventists with 16,000 reported members. The Roman Catholic Church reports having 11,000 members, of whom about 20% are considered to be active participants. Pentecostals have a membership of about 7,000 with 50% active participation. There are about 5,000 Methodists with about 60% active participation. Of the 2,500 members of the Jehovah's Witnesses, 95% are active members. Other Christian denominations include Moravians, Baptists, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints (Mormons). About 17% of the population claims no religious affiliation and about 12% profess other faiths, including Islam, Baha'i, Judaism, Hinduism, and Rastafarianism (Nyabinghi school).

The constitution provides for religious freedom and the right is generally respected in practice. Interfaith associations promoting tolerance and mutual understanding include the Barbados Christian Council and the Caribbean Conference of Churches.

TRANSPORTATION

The highway system had a total length of 1,600 km (995 mi) in 2003, all of which was paved. There were 66,900 passenger cars and 13,200 commercial vehicles registered in 2003. Grantley Adams International Airport, situated 18 km (11 mi) southeast of Bridgetown, is the only airport. Barbados is served by 1 local and 14 international airlines. There is also a deep water harbor at Bridgetown, with berthing facilities for cruise ships and freighters. In 2005, Barbados had a merchant fleet of 58 ships of 1,000 GRT or over, totaling 427,465 GRT. The Barbados ships registry is the second Ships Registry worldwide that received Lloyd's Registry Quality Assurance approval under the Quality Management System Standard ISO 9002.

HISTORY

Barbados originally supported a considerable population of Arawak Indians, but invading Caribs decimated that population. By the time the British landed, near the site of present-day Holetown in 1625, the island was uninhabited. Almost 2,000 English settlers landed in 162728. Soon afterward, the island developed the sugar-based economy, supported by a slave population. Slavery was abolished in 1834 and the last slaves were freed in 1838.

During the following 100 years, the economic fortunes of Barbados fluctuated with alternating booms and slumps in the sugar trade. In 1876, the abortive efforts of the British to bring Barbados into confederation with the Windward Islands resulted in the "confederation riots."

In the 1930s, the dominance of plantation owners and merchants was challenged by a labor movement. Riots in 1937 resulted in the dispatch of a British Royal Commission to the West Indies and the gradual introduction of social and political reforms, culminating in the granting of universal adult suffrage in 1950. In 1958, Barbados became a member of the West Indies Federation, which was dissolved in 1962. The island was proclaimed an independent republic on 30 November 1966. Political stability has been maintained since that time. Barbados helped form CARICOM in 1973, the same year the nation began issuing its own currency. The country was a staging area in October 1983 for the US-led invasion of Grenada, in which Barbadian troops took part. In 1995 it was designated as a center for the Regional Security System, funded by the United States, which conducted military exercises in the region.

Laws enacted in the early 1980s led to the development of Barbados as an offshore business center in the 1980s and 1990s, although tourism remained the nation's primary source of revenue. The international recession of the early 1990s negatively affected the economy of Barbados, touching off a decline in tourism and other sectors, and leading to a crisis of confidence in the government. After a no-confidence vote on 7 June 1994, Prime Minister Erskine Sandiford dissolved the House of Assembly, the first time since independence that such an action had been taken, and a new government was installed following general elections in September. Economic recovery in the subsequent years helped Prime Minister Owen S. Arthur lead to BLP to a landslide victory in the 1999 elections. Prime Minister Arthur won the 2004 elections and was leading his country for the launch of a single CARICOM economic market scheduled to take place in 2005.

In 2004 Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago struggled bitterly over their maritime boundary and associated fishing rights. Barbados decided to submit the issue to binding arbitration in the United Nations. Barbados continued to experience an almost yearly rise in narcotics trafficking and violent crime. Joint patrols of the Royal Barbados Police Force and the all-volunteer Barbados Defense Force increased patrols of the island. Barbadian US-foreign policy was hampered somewhat as Barbados refused to agree to the immunity of US military personnel from proceedings in the International Criminal Court. The United States responded by suspending military equipment sales. As of late 2005, the two countries remained at an impasse over the issue.

GOVERNMENT

The constitution of Barbados, which came into effect on 30 November 1966, provides for a crown-appointed governor-general (who in turn appoints an advisory Privy Council) and for independent executive, legislative, and judicial bodies. The bicameral legislature consists of a Senate and a House of Assembly. The Senate, appointed by the governor-general, has 21 members: 12 from the majority party, 2 from the opposition, and 7 of the governor-general's choice. The 28-member House of Assembly is elected at intervals of five years or less. The voting population is universal, with a minimum age of 18. The governor-general appoints as prime minister that member of the House of Assembly best able to command a majority. The prime minister's cabinet is drawn from elected members of the House of Assembly.

POLITICAL PARTIES

The leading political groups grew out of the labor movement of the 1930s. The Barbados Labor Party (BLP) was established in 1938 by Sir Grantley Adams. The Democratic Labor Party (DLP) split from the BLP in 1955. The National Democratic Party (NDP) was formed in 1989 by dissident members of the DLP. The parties reflect personal more than ideological differences.

Errol W. Barrow, the DLP leader, was prime minister from independence until 1976. The BLP succeeded him under J.M.G. ("Tom") Adams, the son of Grantley Adams. In 1981, the BLP retained its majority by 1710, and Adams continued in that office until his death in 1985. On 28 May 1986, Barrow and the DLP won 24 House of Assembly seats to three for the BLP. After Barrow's death on 2 June 1987, Deputy Prime Minister Erskine Sandiford, minister of education and leader of the House of Assembly, assumed the prime ministership.

Despite the resignation of finance minister Dr. Richie Haynes in 1989, and his subsequent formation of the National Democratic Party, the DLP under Sandiford continued in power, retaining 18 of the now 28 seats in the House of Assembly. The BLP won the remaining 10 seats, leaving the dissident NDP without any representation.

After losing a vote of confidence in the legislature on 7 June 1994, Sandiford dissolved the House of Assembly and scheduled a general election for September. The BLP won by an overwhelming margin, with 19 seats; the DLP won 8, and the NDP, 1. The BLP leader, Owen S. Arthur, became the new prime minister. The BLP swept the next elections, held in January 1999, winning 26 of the 28 House seats, while the DLP claimed only 2. The 2003 elections resulted in a slight loss for the BLP with 23 seats and the DLP with 7; the next elections were scheduled to take place in 2008.

LOCAL GOVERNMENT

All local governments, including those on the district and municipal levels, were abolished on 1 September 1969; their functions were subsumed by the national government. The country is divided into 11 parishes and the city of Bridgetown for administrative and electoral purposes.

JUDICIAL SYSTEM

The Barbados legal system is founded in British common law. The Supreme Court of Judicature sits as a high court and court of appeal; vested by the constitution with unlimited jurisdiction, it consists of a chief justice and three puisne judges, appointed by the governor-general on the recommendation of the prime minister after consultation with the leader of the opposition party. Magistrate courts have both civil and criminal jurisdiction. On 9 June 2003, Caribbean leaders met in Kingston, Jamaica, to ratify a treaty to establish the Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to hear many of the cases formerly brought to the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty's Privy Council in the United Kingdom. The first session of the CCJ was scheduled for November 2003. Eight nationsBarbados, Belize, Dominica, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Trinidad and Tobagoofficially approved the CCJ, although 14 nations were planning to use the court for appeals.

The courts enforce respect for civil rights and assure a number of due process protections in criminal proceedings including a right of detainees to be brought before a judge within 72 hours of arrest. The Judiciary is independent and free from political influence.

In October 2002, Attorney General Mia Mottley announced that a National Commission

on Law and Order would be established to assist the government in achieving civil peace and harmony by promoting cultural renewal and social cohesion, thereby reducing crime and the fear of crime. The Commission published a National Plan on Justice, Peace and Security in June 2004 that included 68 recommendations on constitutional support for social institutions, governance and civil society, cultural values, law enforcement, and criminal courts.

ARMED FORCES

In 2005 the armed forces numbered 610 active personnel and 430 reservists, of which 500 were in the Army and 110 in the Navy. The Navy was equipped with five patrol boats. The defense budget in 2005 was $14 million.

INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION

Barbados became a member of the United Nations (UN) on 9 December 1966 and belongs to several UN specialized agencies, such as the ILO, IMF, FAO, IFC, UNESCO, the World Bank, and WHO. The country joined the WTO on 1 January 1995. Barbados is also a member of the Commonwealth of Nations, ACP group, the Caribbean Development Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Latin American Economic System (LAES), G-77, OAS, the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), and the Alliance of Small Island States (AOSIS). Barbados was one of the founding members of CARICOM (1973). Barbados is part of the Nonaligned Movement and Agency for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL). In environmental cooperation, Barbados is part of the Basel Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity, CITES, the London Convention, the Kyoto Protocol, the Montréal Protocol, MARPOL, and the UN Conventions on the Law of the Sea, Climate Change, and Desertification.

ECONOMY

Sugar, rum, and molasses used to be Barbados' main sources of revenue. In recent years, however, economic activity has focused more on light industry and tourism. Offshore finance and information services also contribute to the country's gross domestic product (GDP), providing an important source of foreign reserve holdings.

The dependence on tourism and foreign exchange makes Barbados vulnerable to shifts in the global economic climate. That became especially clear in 200203 when a worldwide slowdown in tourism that accompanied the 11 September 2001 attacks on the Unites States hit the Caribbean country's economy hard. The economy suffered a severe decline in foreign investment and went into recession as a result. Conditions began to improve with the recovery of tourism in 2003 and 2004. GDP grew at a 3.4% rate in 2004 and at a more modest 2.5% rate in 2005.

The 2005 figures indicated that Barbados still had not recovered from the earlier slowdown. Through the mid-1990s to early 2000, GDP growth averaged 3.4% annually, and hit 5% in 2000. Yet, the country has managed to keep its historically high unemployment rate in check. Inflation also has remained relatively low, coming in at a manageable 2.4% in 2004.

The transition from an economy dependent upon sugar production to one more oriented toward tourism has helped make Barbados one of the most prosperous nations in the western hemisphere, besides the United States and Canada. Per capita GDP was $17,300 in 2005. For the short term, much of Barbados' economic activity has been focused on tourism development. The country is scheduled to host several games and the final of the World Cricket Match in 2007. Much of the country's construction work has been aimed at accommodating an anticipated influx of visitors.

Servicesof which the largest sector for Barbados is tourismcomprised 83% of the country's GDP in 2004, with industry (12%) and agriculture (4%) lagging significantly behind.

INCOME

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) reports that in 2005 Barbados's gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at $4.8 billion. The CIA defines GDP as the value of all final goods and services produced within a nation in a given year and computed on the basis of purchasing power parity (PPP) rather than value as measured on the basis of the rate of exchange based on current dollars. The per capita GDP was estimated at $17,300. The annual growth rate of GDP was estimated at 2.5%. The average inflation rate in 2003 was -0.5%. It was estimated that agriculture accounted for 6% of GDP, industry 16%, and services 78%.

According to the World Bank, in 2003 remittances from citizens working abroad totaled $97 million or about $358 per capita and accounted for approximately 3.7% of GDP.

LABOR

The total labor force as of 2001 was estimated at 128,500. In 1996 (the latest year for which data was available), it was estimated that the service sector accounted for 75% of the labor force, industry 15%, and agriculture 10%. Unemployment, traditionally high, was estimated at 10.7% in 2003.

There is one major union, the Barbados Workers' Union, and several smaller specialized ones. As of 2005, about 19% of the workforce was organized, and were concentrated in important sectors of the economy such as agriculture, transportation and the government. Workers freely enjoy the right to organize and join unions, and unions (except in certain "essential" sectors) are not restricted in their right to strike. Trade unions are affiliated with a variety of regional and international labor organizations, and the Caribbean Congress of Labor has its center of operations in Barbados.

The standard legal workweek is five days and 40 hours, with overtime pay required for additional hours worked. In addition, all overtime is voluntary. A minimum of a three-week paid holiday each year (four weeks for those employed at least five years) is required by law. There is a legal minimum work age of 16, which is generally observed, and is reinforced by compulsory primary and secondary educational rules. The law sets the minimum wage for only household domestics and shop assistants, which (as of 2005) was $2.50 per hour.

AGRICULTURE

About 17,000 hectares (42,000 acres), or 39.5% of the total land area, are classified as arable. At one time, nearly all arable land was devoted to sugarcane, but the percentage devoted to ground crops for local consumption has been increasing. In 2004, 361,200 tons of sugarcane were produced, down from the annual average of 584,000 tons in 198991. In 2004, sugar exports amounted to us$22.4 million, or 8% of total exports. Major food crops are yams, sweet potatoes, corn, eddo, cassava, and several varieties of beans. Some cotton is also grown.

ANIMAL HUSBANDRY

The island must import large quantities of meat and dairy products. Most livestock is owned by individual households. Estimates for 2004 showed 9,000 head of cattle, 13,500 sheep, 18,500 hogs, 5,100 goats, and 3,370,000 chickens. Poultry production in 2004 included 13,300 tons of meat and 1,928 tons of hen eggs.

FISHING

The fishing industry employs about 2,000 persons, and the fleet consists of more than 500 powered boats. The catch in 2003 was 2,500 metric tons. Flying fish, dolphinfish, tuna, turbot, kingfish, and swordfish are among the main species caught. A fisheries terminal complex opened at Oistins in 1983.

FORESTRY

Fewer than 20 hectares (50 acres) of original forests have survived the 300 years of sugar cultivation. There are an estimated 5,000 hectares (12,350 acres) of forested land, covering about 12% of the total land area. Roundwood production in 2003 totaled 5,000 cu m (176,500 cu ft), and imports amounted to 5,000 cu m (176,500 cu ft). In 2003, Barbados imported us$25.9 million in wood and forest products.

MINING

Deposits of limestone and coral were quarried to meet local construction needs. Production of limestone in 2003 amounted to 1.23 million metric tons. Clays and shale, sand and gravel, and carbonaceous deposits provided limited yields. Preliminary production figures for hydraulic cement in 2003 totaled 330,000 metric tons. Hydraulic cement output in 2002 totaled 297,667 metric tons.

ENERGY AND POWER

Electricity supply and distribution is managed by Barbados Light and Power, a private company under government concession. Production in 2002 totaled 800 million kWh, with consumption at 744 million kWh for that year. Capacity in 2002 stood at 166,000 kW. Fossil fuels met 100% of energy demand (petroleum roughly 95% and natural gas the remainder). The world oil crisis of the mid-1970s initiated an active search for commercial deposits of oil and natural gas. Limited pockets of natural gas were discovered, and oil was found in St. Philip Parish. Daily oil production in 2004 averaged 1,000 barrels; natural gas production was 1 billion cu ft in 2003. According to the Oil and Gas Journal, proven oil reserves in 2005 totaled 2.9 million barrels. Barbados's oil is refined in Trinidad. As of the beginning of 2000, Barbados was planning to privatize its energy companies, including the National Petroleum Corporation and the Barbados National Oil Company (BNOC).

INDUSTRY

Although tourism is the main economic driver, Barbados was gradually developing a healthy offshore banking and financial services sector. The sugar industry made up less than 1% of the country's GDP and employed about 800 people in a labor force of 146,3000 in 2004.

Barbadian tourism has benefited from continued income growth in its major source markets and dynamic marketing efforts by the national authorities. The United Kingdom is the largest market for Barbados, providing about one-third of all overnight visitors to the island. The construction industry has grown as a result of tourism-related construction projects (such as a hotel, golf course, condominiums, and a marina), in addition to a series of public works projects. Barbados also has garment and furniture making enterprises.

SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY

Barbadian learned societies include the Barbados Astronomical Society and the Barbados Pharmaceutical Society, founded in 1956 and 1948 respectively. The Bellairs Research Institute, associated with McGill University in Montréal, is a center for the study of the tropical environment. The Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies has faculties in medicine (located in Bridgetown, founded in 1963) and social sciences. Barbados Community College, founded in 1968, offers training in science and technology. The Barbados Museum and Historical Society, in St. Ann's Garrison, established in 1933, has collections illustrating the island's geology, prehistory, natural history, and marine life.

DOMESTIC TRADE

Domestic trade is centered on fish, fruit, and vegetable markets, as well as tourism-related shopping. Many food products and other consumer goods are imported. General business is conducted on weekdays from 8 am to 4:30 pm. Most shops are also open Saturdays from 8 am to noon. Banks are open Monday through Thursday from 8 am to 3 pm and Friday from 8 am to 5 pm.

Country Exports Imports Balance
World 249.8 1,195.0 -945.2
Bunkers, ship stores 53.0 53.0
United States 36.1 453.0 -416.9
Trinidad and Tobago 28.4 236.4 -208.0
United Kingdom 27.5 74.5 -47.0
Jamaica 15.4 10.1 5.3
Saint Lucia 11.7 5.3 6.4
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 9.2 3.6 5.6
Grenada 7.4 7.4
Antigua and Barbuda 6.3 6.3
Guyana 6.2 12.3 -6.1
() data not available or not significant.

FOREIGN TRADE

Barbados consistently imports more than its exports, which has caused it historically to operate with a negative trade balance. That imbalance has widened in recent years, raising some concerns among international lending authorities such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Exports in 2004 totaled $278 million, with major markets being the United States (15%), Trinidad and Tobago (10%), the United Kingdom (10%), and Jamaica (4%). Primary export products include agricultural commodities such as sugar, honey, molasses, and rum; electrical equipment and small manufactures; medications, printed materials, and pesticides and disinfectants. Imports outpaced exports by a ratio of nearly 5:1 in 2004, totaling $1.413 billion. Most trading activity occurred with the United States (36%), Trinidad and Tobago (21%), the United Kingdom (6%), and Japan (5%).

The government and private sector were both working to prepare the country for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME)a European Union-style single market that was to begin in 2006.

BALANCE OF PAYMENTS

The consistently adverse trade balance is substantially alleviated by foreign currency remittances from various emigrants and by tourist expenditures. Furthermore, the IMF notes that the rise in imports is related to an increase in economic activity. More mortgages were being sought in Barbados and construction for the 2007 World Cricket Games was on the rise.

However, the growth in import activity has resulted in a shift in balance of payments: Barbados used to maintain a surplus but ended 2004 with a deficit accounting for 5.5% of GDP. Gross international reserves fell to approximately 3.75 months of imported goods and services.

BANKING AND SECURITIES

The bank of issue is the Central Bank of Barbados. In 1972, it replaced the East Caribbean Currency Authority (ECCA). Commercial

Current Account -169.4
   Balance on goods -801.4
     Imports -1,065.6
     Exports 264.2
   Balance on services 646.7
   Balance on income -106.9
   Current transfers 92.2
Capital Account
Financial Account 202.4
   Direct investment abroad -0.5
   Direct investment in Barbados 58.3
   Portfolio investment assets -22.9
   Portfolio investment liabilities 84.1
   Financial derivatives
   Other investment assets -83.1
   Other investment liabilities 166.5
Net Errors and Omissions 34.4
Reserves and Related Items -67.4
() data not available or not significant.

banks include the Bank of Nova Scotia, Barbados National Bank, Barclay's Bank, Broad Street, Caldon Finance Merchant Bank, Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce, Caribbean Commercial Bank, Caribbean Financial Services Corporation, Mutual Bank of the Caribbean, and Royal Bank of Canada. Public institutions include the Barbados Development Bank and the Sugar Industry Agricultural Bank. Barbados has begun development of the offshore banking sector, including the Republic Bank of Trinidad and Tobago in 1999.

The International Monetary Fund reports that in 2001, currency and demand depositsan aggregate commonly known as M1were equal to $571.9 million. In that same year, M2an aggregate equal to M1 plus savings deposits, small time deposits, and money market mutual fundswas $1.9 billion. The discount rate, the interest rate at which the central bank lends to financial institutions in the short term, was 7.5%.

There is no stock exchange in Barbados, although the Central Bank has established the Barbados Securities Marketing Corp. in anticipation of the future development of a securities exchange. Mutual funds provide a tax-exempt vehicle for investment in existing shares.

INSURANCE

The regulatory authority is the Supervisor of Insurance of the Ministry of Finance. The General Insurance Association of Barbados is the general trade association. A full range of life and nonlife insurance is available. Barbados Mutual Life Assurance Society and Life of Barbados Limited provided most insurance services to the nation in 1999.

PUBLIC FINANCE

Revenues are derived mostly from import duties, internal consumption taxes, and income tax. Public sector deficits grew during the 1980s as the economy weakened. The international recession of 199091 magnified problems of debt service and debt management. By the end of 1990, the national debt was 9.5% higher than that of 1989. By 1991, the fiscal deficit had become unsustainable; in February 1992, the government began a stabilization program in fiscal policies with assistance from the IMF. By 2000, the deficit problem had been resolved.

The US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) estimated that in 2000 Barbados's central government took in revenues of approximately us$847 million and had expenditures of us$886 million. Revenues minus expenditures totaled approximately -us$39 million. Total external debt was us$668 million.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) reported that in 2003, the most recent year for which it had data, budgetary central government revenues were bds$1,827.5 million and expenditures were bds$1,981.6 million. The value of revenues in dollars was us$914 million and expenditures us$925 million, based on a official exchange rate for 2003 of us$1 = bds$2 as reported by the IMF. Government outlays by function were as follows: general public services, 28.8%; defense, 2.0%; public order and safety, 6.4%; economic affairs, 16.2%; environmental protection, 6.6%; housing and community amenities, 1.5%; health, 11.7%; recreation, culture, and religion, 2.2%; education, 19.3%; and social protection, 5.3%.

TAXATION

The top individual tax rate, as of 2005, was 37.5% and applies to incomes over bds$24,200. However, in 2006, that rate was scheduled to drop to 35%. The corporate income tax rate was 30% but like the top individual tax rate, was slated for reduction to 25% in 2006. There is also a 10% branch remittance tax. Other taxes were levied on insurance premiums, property transfers, land value, bank assets, and rental income. A value-added tax (VAT) was

Revenue and Grants 1,827.5 100.0%
   Tax revenue 1,620.4 88.7%
   Social contributions 100.4 5.5%
   Grants 9.1 0.5%
   Other revenue 97.6 5.3%
Expenditures 1,981.6 100.0%
   General public services 570.7 28.8%
   Defense 39.9 2.0%
   Public order and safety 127.8 6.4%
   Economic affairs 321.2 16.2%
   Environmental protection 131.2 6.6%
   Housing and community amenities 28.8 1.5%
   Health 231.5 11.7%
   Recreational, culture, and religion 42.7 2.2%
   Education 381.8 19.3%
   Social protection 106 5.3%
() data not available or not significant.

instituted in 1997, that is levied at 15% generally, and 7.5% on hotel accommodations. Basic commodities are exempt.

CUSTOMS AND DUTIES

Most imports, except those from other CARICOM members, are subject to import duties that include a customs duty, a consumption tax, and a stamp tax. The Common External Tariff (CET) was reduced to 20% in 1999 and the 35% surtax was removed in 2000. Items that carry a higher import duty rate include fruit and vegetables (40%), jewelry (60%), watches (50%), and motor vehicles (45%). The value-added tax of 15% replaced eleven different taxes, mostly on imports. In addition to the VAT, an excise tax of 46.9593.73 % is placed on imported vehicles. Import licenses are needed to import many agricultural products, but there are no export controls. Beer and fruit drinks may be imported only from CARICOM countries, but fruit juices may be imported from nonmember states.

Barbados became a signatory to the World Trade Organization agreement in 1994, agreeing to dismantle all nontariff barriers by the year 2004.

FOREIGN INVESTMENT

Various investment incentives, administered through the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC), are available to both domestic and foreign investors. These include exception from custom duties, tax reduction and exceptions, and training grants. The government favors productive foreign investments with an emphasis on tourism and banking because of their employment and foreign exchange generating potential. Special incentive packages exist for the hotel industry, manufacturing, and offshore business sectors. The Fiscal Incentives Act of 1974 provides for tax holidays up to 10 years for investment in manufacturing, plus a schedule of rebates on income tax is available for any manufacturing company deriving profits from exports. There is full exemption from all income and withholding taxes for investors in some offshore industries (captive insurance, foreign sales corporations), while most International Business Corporations (IBCs), provided they export 100% of their manufactured output, pay 12.5% corporate tax rate, can import production equipment duty free, and are free of exchange controls. Foreign ownership of Barbadian enterprises or participation in joint ventures must be approved by the Central Bank. The offshore sector offers many opportunities, particularly given the island's strong educational base. The government is stable, labor relations are comparatively tranquil, political violence is unknown, and corruption is not considered a problem.

Barbados has concluded double taxation treaties with the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, CARICOM, Cuba, China, Venezuela, Sweden, Finland, Norway, and Switzerland.

Foreign direct investment (FDI) picked up significantly in 2003 and 2004. The UN Conference on Trade and Development reported FID inflows of $58 million in 2003, and $50 million in 2004. These shifts were significant compared with the slowdown in FDI that affected Barbados even before the worldwide decline in tourism that accompanied the 11 September 2001 attacks on the United States. In 2001, FDI fell to $17.5 million, after hitting a previous peak of $19.4 million in 2000. FDI remained at $17 million in 2002 before starting to turn around in 2003. Barbados held $451 million in FDI stocks in 2004, which comprised 15.9% of GDP.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

Government planning, in operation since 1951, has helped Barbados make a successful transition from a sugar-based economy to one with a more globalized presence, particularly in the tourism and financial services sector.

The economy recovered well from its 1990 recession, and showed signs in 2005 of bouncing back from the post-11 September 2001 slowdown. The IMF and US State Department both describe Barbados as a healthy, open economy with steady growth rates, low inflation, and falling unemployment.

While the IMF projects that growth prospects for Barbados will remain strong through 2008, the international lending agency expresses some concern about the country's decline in foreign reserves and growing trade imbalance.

For the long-term, Barbados needs to diversify its economy to protect itself from the shock effects of worldwide recessions and other crises. As a small, open economy, the nation itself has little ability to protect itself from the vagaries of market shifts. This is particularly the case with tourism, as the economic contraction that followed the 11 September 2001 attacks showed.

SOCIAL DEVELOPMENT

A national social security system provides old age and survivors' pensions, sickness, disability, and maternity benefits, and employment injury benefits. All employed persons are covered. Unemployment insurance was introduced in 1982 and is funded by equal contributions from employers and employees. Sickness and maternity benefits are provided for employed persons. Free medical care is available in health centers and public hospitals.

Although women are well-represented in all aspects of national life, women's rights advocates cite domestic violence and abuse as a serious problem. A domestic violence law requires an immediate police response to reports of violence against women and children. There are public and private counseling services for victims of rape, domestic violence, and child abuse. Sexual harassment continued in the workplace. In 2004, the government continued to address the issues of children's rights and welfare.

Human rights are protected under the constitution. Prison conditions are inadequate consisting of one overcrowded adult facility that is more than 150 years old.

HEALTH

Barbados has a national health service. In 2004, there were 120 physicians, 13 nurses, and 23 dentists per 100,000 people. Life expectancy in 2005 was 72.59 years and the overall death rate was estimated at 8 per 1,000 people as of 2002. The infant mortality rate was 11.72 per 1,000 live births in 2005. By the mid-1990s, the under-five mortality rate had improved to only 10 per 1,000 from 1960, when it was 90 per 1,000 children. In the mid-1990s, the birth rate was 14 births per 1,000 people. As of 1994, 97% of one-year-old children were vaccinated against measles. The HIV/AIDS prevalence was 1.50 per 100 adults in 2003. As of 2004, there were approximately 2,500 people living with HIV/AIDS in the country. There were an estimated 200 deaths from AIDS in 2003.

HOUSING

The Barbados Housing Authority is empowered to acquire land, construct housing projects, and redevelop overcrowded areas. Rising land costs continued to be a hindrance to new home construction, but since 1996, the government has been looking at new ways to help private owners finance land and home purchases. Also since 1996, the government has initiated a new building code to improve existing structures, particularly focusing on renovations that may prevent destruction from hurricanes.

At last estimate, 90% of all housing consisted of detached homes and more than 5% of apartments. About 76% of all homes were owner occupied. The average household size is 4.3 people. An important concern for the government has been to offer a supply of adequate, low-income housing to both improve and supplement the existing housing stock. In the late 1990s, it was estimated that about 30% of the population in Greater Bridgetown lived in "chattel" homes, portable makeshift homes that are built and owned by a household but placed on land rented from the government or other private landlord. As of 2004, the government was still behind schedule on completion of new housing projects.

EDUCATION

Education is compulsory for children between the ages of 5 and 16. Primary school covers six years and secondary school covers seven years. Primary school enrollment in 2003 was estimated at close to 100% of age-eligible students. The same year, secondary school enrollment was about 90% of age-eligible students. Nearly all students complete their primary education. The student-to-teacher ratio for primary school was at about 16:1 in 2003; the ratio for secondary school was about 15:1.

As of 2000, there were 93 government primary schools and a small number of private primary schools. Secondary education was provided in 22 government secondary schools, 15 assisted private schools, and 7 senior schools for students ages 1416. The education program in Barbados is administered by the Ministry of Education and is free in all government-run schools. As of 2003, public expenditure on education was estimated at 7.6% of GDP.

Scholarships are awarded for study in the United Kingdom and in Caribbean institutions. The Barbados branch of the University of the West Indies opened at Cave Hill in 1963. The government pays the fees of all Barbadian students at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of West Indies. The Barbados Community College was established in 1968. The adult literacy rate for 2004 was estimated at about 99.7%.

There is also advanced education for adults at the Extramural Center of the University of West Indies, the Erdiston Teachers Training College, and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic. There are special schools for the deaf, blind, and mentally retarded, including two residential institutions for disabled persons.

LIBRARIES AND MUSEUMS

A free library (1847) is maintained by the government in Bridgetown. There are seven branches, with bookmobile stops throughout the island. By 2002, the system had 126,000 volumes. The library of the Barbados branch of the University of the West Indies has 179,000 volumes and serves as a depository library of the United Nations. The Law Library of the University of the West Indies holds about 110,000 books.

There were seven museums in the country in 2001. There are also 17 monuments and historic sites and 5 zoos and botanical gardens. The Barbados Museum and Historical Society (1933) in Saint Michael is a general museum with collections showing the geology, history, natural history, marine life, and plantation home furnishings of the island, as well as Arawak artifacts. Other museums include the Mallalieu Motor Museum in Christ Church, the Sir Frank Huts on Sugar Museum in Saint James, and a science museum at the Rum Factory and Heritage Park in Saint Phillip.

MEDIA

Automatic telephone service is provided by a private firm, the Barbados Telephone Co. Ltd. In 2003, there were 134,000 mainline phones in use, as well as 140,000 mobile phones. A wireless telephone service provides overseas communications and a telex cable connects Barbados with the United Kingdom. The Congor Bay Earth Station, opened in 1972, links Barbados with the global satellite communications system.

Barbados has a government-controlled television and radio broadcasting service (The Caribbean Broadcasting SystemCBS) and a commercial rediffusion service that broadcasts over a cable network. In 2004, there were nine radio stations, three of which were owned by CBS. The country's only television station is also owned by CBS. In 1997, there were about 237,000 radios and 76,000 television sets in use throughout the country. In 2003, there were 100,000 Internet subscribers.

There are two major daily newspapers (both independently operated, in Bridgetown), the Advocate (circulation 15,000 in 2002) and the Daily Nation (32,000), as well as some periodicals, including a monthly magazine, the New Bajan.

The Constitution of Barbados provides for freedom of expression and the government is said to uphold freedom of speech and press. The government prohibits the production of pornographic materials.

ORGANIZATIONS

Barbados has a chamber of commerce in St. Michael. The Barbados Association of Office Professionals provides some general business training and networking options. There is also a Barbados Employers' Confederation, a Barbados Manufacturers' Association, and a Barbados Workers' Union. Associations are available a number of professionals, including lawyers, teachers, journalists, and medical professionals. Some notable medical associations include the Barbados Cancer Society, Barbados Dental Association, Barbados Family Planning Association, and the Barbados Association of Medical Practitioners.

The Barbados Museum and Historical Society is a key organization for the preservation and promotion of art and culture. The Evangelical Association of the Caribbean and the Caribbean Conference of Churches are multinational organizations based in the country.

International youth organizations include 4-H Clubs, Boy Scouts, Girl Guides, YMCA, and YWCA. Other youth organizations include the Anglican Young People's Association, the Caribbean Youth Business Network, the Caribbean Youth Environment Network, the Guild of Undergraduates of Barbados, and the League of Progressive Youth. There are a number of sports associations in the country, promoting such pastimes as track and field, weightlifting, badminton, and lawn tennis.

The Barbados Council of Women serves as an umbrella organization for women's groups. Branches of international service organizations include Kiwanis International, Lions Club, and Rotary Club. There are national chapters of the Red Cross, Amnesty International, and UNICEF.

TOURISM, TRAVEL, AND RECREATION

Barbados, with its fine beaches, sea bathing, and pleasant climate, has long been a popular holiday resort. Cricket is the national sport, followed by surfing, sailing, and other marine pastimes. A valid passport and onward/return ticket are required of all visitors entering Barbados. Visas are not required for citizens of the United States, Canada, or Australia, but visas are required for citizens of some 78 countries.

In 2003, about 531,000 tourists visited Barbados. There were 6,210 hotel rooms that year with 10,770 beds and a 49% occupancy rate. The cost of staying in Barbados varied seasonally. According to 2005 US Department of State estimates, the daily cost of staying in Barbados between December and April was us$394. At other times of the year, daily costs averaged us$284.

FAMOUS BARBADIANS

Sir Grantley Adams (18981971) was premier of the Federation of the West Indies (195862). His son, John Michael Geoffrey Manningham "Tom" Adams (193185) was prime minister from 1976 until his death, succeeding Errol Walton Barrow (192087). In 1985, Barrow again assumed the office of prime minister until his death. Erskine Sandiford (b.1938) succeeded Barrow. Barbados-born Edwin Barclay (18821955) was president of Liberia from 1930 to 1944. George Lamming (b.1927) is a well-known West Indian novelist. Sir Garfield Sobers (b.1936) has gained renown as the "world's greatest cricketer."

DEPENDENCIES

Barbados has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Beckles, Hilary. A History of Barbados: From Amerindian Settlement to Nation-State. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Butler, Kathleen. The Economics of Emancipation: Jamaica and Barbados, 18231843. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 1995.

Calvert, Peter. A Political and Economic Dictionary of Latin America. Philadelphia: Routledge/Taylor and Francis, 2004.

Health in the Americas, 2002 edition. Washington, D.C.: Pan American Health Organization, Pan American Sanitary Bureau, Regional Office of the World Health Organization, 2002.

Kinas, Roxan. Barbados. Maspeth, N.Y.: APA, 2002.

views updated

BARBADOS

Major Cities:
Bridgetown

EDITOR'S NOTE

This chapter was adapted from the Department of State Post Report dated November 1995. Supplemental material has been added to increase coverage of minor cities, facts have been updated, and some material has been condensed. Readers are encouraged to visit the Department of State's web site at http://travel.state.gov/ for the most recent information available on travel to this country.

INTRODUCTION

The British influence remains alive and strong in BARBADOS . Although this small Caribbean nation has been independent for more than two decades, the mark of the Crown survives in its language, in its passion for cricket, in conservative dress, and in the carefully nurtured observance of afternoon teatime. A renowned tourist mecca, Barbados is, in many ways, the most advanced of the smaller Caribbean islands, and it enjoys its position as a stable, independent state within the British Commonwealth.

The island is geographically isolated and offers few sophisticated cultural amenities, but the sun shines nearly every day, and the sea beckons to visitors throughout the year. From quiet coves to sprawling, luxurious resorts, Barbados is well-equipped for tourism.

The island was settled by the English, but it is thought that perhaps it had been named earlier by Portuguese explorersLos Barbados for the bearded fig trees they found in such profusion.

MAJOR CITY

Bridgetown

Bridgetown, founded in 1629, is Barbados' capital and largest city. It has about 123,000 inhabitants. The Careenage, a small inlet of the Atlantic Ocean, divides the city. Some tourist charter boats and fishing boats are docked there. Two of the old warehouses lining the Careenage have been partly renovated and provide space for some cafes and shops.

Broad Street is the principal tourist shopping and banking street. A small statue of Lord Nelson stands in the square, commissioned by the Bridgetown merchants in gratitude for Nelson's saving the West Indies by defeating the French at Trafalgar.

A deep-water harbor was constructed in 1961, and interisland shipping has since been moved from the Careenage to a shallow draft harbor. The government has built Bridgetown Fishing Harbour, which provides piers and moorings for the fishing fleet and a fish market.

The Garrison Savannah, once the training ground for the British West Indies Regiment, is now a park. Horse-racing is held at the track there on most Saturdays in season and on some holidays. Surrounding the Savannah are private buildings that once housed the British forces. One of these is the Barbados Museum.

Many of the older buildings in Bridgetown have been destroyed to make way for modern, utilitarian structures. In recent years, the Barbados National Trust has become interested in preserving Barbados' architectural heritage. As a result, a few of the charming old buildings have been repainted and renovated.

Food

Most meat sold locally, except for chicken, is imported. American beef is available, but quite expensive. Local pork, chicken, and lamb are available, fresh and frozen. Fresh fish is sold every afternoon at fish markets around the island. King-fish, dorado (referred to locally as dolphin), and flying fish are staples; red snapper is available during the summer months. Tuna, shark, and marlin are also available. Shrimp and lobster are available, but at high prices.

Pasteurized milk, cream, yogurt, cottage cheese, and sour cream are available from the local dairy and are safe for consumption. They are also expensive by U.S. standards and tend to spoil rapidly. Ice cream and frozen yogurt are also produced locally, but are very expensive.

The variety and quality of fruits and vegetables available are disappointing. Prices are high by U.S. standards, whether the produce is locally grown or imported. Most fruit sold in the supermarkets is imported. Local lettuce is available, as are cucumbers, green beans, carrots, bell peppers, and cabbage, but with frequent shortages of these items, especially during the tourist season (mid-December to mid-April). Tomatoes, avocados, melon, squash, broccoli, mangoes, and papayas are seasonally available. Quality varies and you may have to search through the local vendors stalls to find good ones. All bananas sold in Barbados are grown locally. Oranges, grapefruit, and pineapple are imported from the other CARICOM countries. The market at Cheapside, open mornings, Monday through Saturday, is where many local small farmers sell their produce. Although the variety is limited, the prices are much lower than in supermarkets, and some families find this a better source than the supermarkets.

Clothing

Dress in Barbados is more traditional and conservative than elsewhere in the Caribbean. This translates to more suits and ties and dresses than may be expected from perusal of tourist brochures of cruises and vacations in the Caribbean.

Lightweight, informal clothing is worn by both men and women. The selection available locally is limited and expensive.

Keep in mind that clothing will be laundered more frequently here; it fades and wears out quickly. Elastic loses its stretch; metal pieces rust. When purchasing new items for Barbados try to avoid metal buckles, zippers, snaps, or buttons. Leather belts and shoes tend to mildew.

Clothes not worn frequently that are left in closets on metal hangers may be damaged by rusting of the hangers, sometimes even rusting through the fabric at the shoulders. Leave most woolen clothing or other items that require dry-cleaning in storage. The humidity increases the amount of mildew forming on clothing kept in closets, resulting in the need to wash or dry-clean clothing that has not been worn.

Men: A suit is worn to the office and most social functions. The locally available "shirt jac" (something like the guya-bera in Latin America or safari suit in Africa) is acceptable on some occasions. When selecting your wardrobe for Barbados, keep in mind the heat, the humidity, the island's limited professional cleaning facilities, and the fact that clothing fades and wears out quickly here.

Women: Short-sleeved cotton dresses or skirts and blouses are suitable for work. Short-sleeved or sleeveless cotton dresses, sun-dresses, blouses, and skirts or shorts are suitable for home or running errands, although residents do not generally wear shorts downtownonly the tourists do. Slacks are also worn in the evening or when the weather is cooler. Bring 100% cotton clothing and lingerie. Synthetics are fine for the office or evening. Hats (except on the beach), gloves, and hose are rarely worn. Sweaters are rarely needed, except at the office.

Children: School-age children wear uniforms. Each school has their own color uniform. Some pieces (i.e., white shirts, brown or black shoes) may be purchased in the U.S. at a lower cost. Some specific items must be purchased locally. Children will live in swimsuits, shorts, and T-shirts. Children's clothing is more expensive and of poorer quality than that available in the U.S.

Supplies and Services

Tailors and dressmakers are hard to find, and the quality of workmanship varies. Dry-cleaning is much more expensive than in the U.S., and the quality is not always the best. Several good beauty shops operate with prices that are similar to those in the U.S.

Religious Activities

More than 140 different religious denominations and sects are represented in Barbados. The Anglican Church predominates and Anglican churches abound. The island has six Catholic churches. Protestant denominations include Methodist, Seventh-day Adventist, Moravian, Pilgrim Holiness, New Testament Church of God, Church of the Nazarene, Assembly of God, Baptist, and the United Christian Brethren. Christian Science, Mormon, and Jehovah's Witnesses are also here. More Caribbean in character and African in outlook are the Sons of God Apostolic Church or "Spiritual Baptists" and Rastafarians. Barbados has two Greek Orthodox churches, a synagogue, and a mosque. Baha'is and Hindus are also here.

Education

The education system in Barbados is modeled on the British system and is in many ways not comparable to education in the U.S. In addition to the stress of coping with a different education system, the educational environment lacks amenities taken for granted in the U.S. The schools have no science labs or theaters; the libraries and gyms are inadequate or nonexistent; very little computer training is available. The buildings generally appear rundown; the walls are bare. Children coming from an American education system have found the adjustment especially difficult at the secondary level.

Many parents are satisfied with local preschools and primary schools. The local schools are not obliged to accept U.S. children, however, and it is difficult to find places after June 30.

Primary school children usually attend St. Gabriel's, St. Angela's, or St. Winifred's. All schools require uniforms. Some schools have Brownie and Cub Scout troops.

Secondary education begins at age 11 upon completion of the 11 plus examination.

The differences in the educational system are most apparent at the secondary level, where emphasis is on memorization of material in preparation for taking public examinations. The curriculum is inflexible, and course offerings are limited by the form (grade) in which a child is placed. For example, if your child is ready to begin the second year of Spanish and the form is in the third year of French, the child will have to do third-year French or no foreign language at all. Creativity is not rewarded and often discouraged. No credit is given for having completed course work; scores on the year end public examination determine success or failure. Extracurricular activities such as sports, drama, music, journalism, or other special interests are not normally available. Pressure is placed on children to compete with their classmates to be "first in form."

Special Educational Opportunities

Children can take lessons in ballet, modern dance, swimming, tennis, riding, piano, Spanish, French, chess, table tennis, drawing, karate, judo, gymnastics, and recorder. The Barbados Yachting Association offers sailing lessons in the summer for children 8 and older.

The Barbados Community College also offers courses to adults in foreign languages, computers, and other continuing education. The Alliance Francais offers French-language courses at various levels.

The University of the West Indies will allow a college-age dependent to enroll as an "occasional student" and audit courses on a noncredit basis. Expenses are equal to a non-resident student at a U.S. university. Computer courses are held at a local institute.

The Office of Overseas Schools advises against bringing handicapped children to Barbados.

Sports

Cricket is the national sport, and most Barbadians take an avid interest in it. The quality of cricket played locally is high, especially the test matches, and the West Indian team is one of the world's top test match teams.

Soccer, rugby, golf, field hockey, running, cycling, and tennis are popular, and basketball is becoming increasingly so. Individuals have access to three courses: the 18-hole Sandy Lane Hotel Course, the 18-hole course at the new Royal Westmoreland Golf Course, and the 9-hole course at Rockley. Tennis courts are available, although few are public, and most require club membership. At least five squash clubs are available and several gyms and fitness centers offer exercise classes as well as Nautilus equipment. Bodybuilding is a very popular sport in Barbados. The country has produced a number of world-class bodybuilders, including a former Mr. Universe and a former Mr. World.

All beaches in Barbados are public. A certain amount of harassment by panhandlers and itinerant vendors is a problem with some selling drugs. Women who are alone can expect to be approached by several persistent young men who make a living that way. Swimming, water skiing, sailing, windsurfing, scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing are popular sports. The water is warm year round. Some of the hotels offer use of their pools gratis or for a small fee. Most swimming areas do not have lifeguards, and swimming on the east coast can be very dangerous.

Sailing conditions are good, but possible local destinations are very limited. No marinas or docks are available to pleasure boat owners in Barbados. Those that exist are only for commercial fishing boats. Boats may be moored along the coast; most are moored in Carlisle Bay adjacent to the Yacht Club. No charge is made for your mooring. The Yacht Club has modest fees to join for both boating and tennis and sponsors serious sailing races for racing, cruising, and dinghy classes.

Thoroughbreds on the island are limited in number, although the Barbados Turf Club holds periodic races during the year. Horses are occasionally brought in from Trinidad or Martinique. Polo matches are held during winter.

Barbados offers opportunities for water polo, horseback riding, rifle shooting, Ping-pong, and netball. For runners, two or three 10K races and a marathon are held each year. The Barbados Hash House Harriers meet every Saturday afternoon at various spots on the island for a run or walk through the countryside. The National Trust sponsors walks each Sunday morning and afternoon that offer great views as well as good exercise.

Touring and Outdoor Activities

All touring on Barbados is done by car. Distances are not great, but travel can sometimes be time consuming due to narrow, congested, and unevenly maintained roads.

Barbados has several old plantation "Great Houses" open to the public. Sam Lord's Castle, Villa Nova, and St. Nicholas Abbey are the best known, but Sunbury and Francia are also interesting to visit. Farley Hill, a great house now in ruins, is a National Park with beautiful views of both coasts, a picnic area, and playground. The Flower Forest, Welchman Hall Gully, and Andromeda Gardens are botanical parks. The Wildlife Reserve has monkeys, caiman, peacocks, tortoises, and other small animals and is a favorite with children. Harrison's Cave is a large limestone cavern also very popular with the younger set.

St. Vincent and the Grenadines offer some of the most beautiful sailing waters in the world. It is a short flight from Barbados to Grenada, Union Island, or St. Vincent. Chartering a sailboat and sailing among the Grenadine islands is a memorable experience for those who are able to take advantage of the opportunity to explore the unique character and attractions of each of the islands.

Entertainment

Entertainment possibilities in Barbados, beyond the tourist-oriented shows, are limited and hard to find. Those who seek them out, begin by asking long-term residents and Barbadians. The island's drive-in movie theater is a great treat on balmy evenings with a cooler of drinks and a vat of popcorn.

Most Americans in Barbados have VCRs (VHS predominant) and get current copies of releases from the many video clubs located around the island. Many of these copies are of indifferent quality and do not appear authorized. Amateur and semiprofessional theater, music, and dance groups perform occasionally. In addition, most larger hotels provide calypso and steelband music of varying quality year round. The island also has some nightclubs and discos.

Barbados has many restaurants that, in general, offer standard tourist fare at tourist prices. A few noteworthy restaurants offer excellent cuisine at prices comparable to those of similar quality in Washington, D.C. Some of the hotels offer buffet specials, which can be more reasonably priced.

The Barbados National Trust holds an open house each week from January to April at some of the finer homes on the island. The plantation houses are varied, with luxury winter homes. These tours are popular with residents and tourists alike. The Barbados Museum supports an amateur archeological group that has been digging with great success at a pre-Columbian Indian site.

Amateur photographers and artists will find both scenic beauty and human interest shots. Art materials are limited. Film can be purchased locally, but is expensive.

Several active bridge clubs hold regular sessions. The Barbados Bridge League offers duplicate bridge four times a week. A chess club and a ham radio club accept members.

Social Activities

The American Women's Club is a large local organization that meets monthly. Membership is open to both Americans and others. The club sponsors several activities, including a book group, a cooking group, bridge, a literary group, and an occasional charity ball.

Opportunities exist to meet Barbadians officially and in community activities. These contacts can later broaden into more personal relationships, but may require more effort to overcome the reserved distance characteristic of Barbadian culture. Nationals of other countries, particularly the U.K. and Canada, are easy to meet and share many interests with Americans. The Multi-National Women's Committee sponsors an annual fund-raising fair to benefit a variety of children's charities each February, thereby offering opportunities to get involved in Barbadian society and meet people from many countries.

International organizations represented in Barbados include, among others, UNDP, PAHO, EEC, IDB, UNICEF, and the OAS.

COUNTRY PROFILE

Geography and Climate

Barbados lies about 270 miles northeast of Venezuela and 1,612 miles southeast of Miami. It is 21 miles long and 14 miles wide with an area of 166 square miles. Constant westward tradewinds temper the tropical climate much of the year.

Situated 100 miles to the east of the Caribbean Windward Island chain, Barbados is distinct from those islands in many ways. It is a coral island, rather than volcanic, and relatively flat.

Mt. Hillaby, the highest point, is only 1,104 feet above sea level. Bridgetown, the capital, is located on the southwest corner of the island. The west and south coasts leading out of the city are densely populated, with hotels, residential, and commercial areas intermingling. The rugged, windswept east coast boasts the scenic Scotland district. The currents on the east coast are very dangerous, and swimming is forbidden in many areas. The interior of the island rises gently and sugarcane fields are interspersed with villages, farms, and the occasional plantation Great House.

Actual temperatures in Barbados vary little during the year, averaging about 77°F (25°C) and rarely rising above 89°F (32°C) or falling below 65°F (18°C). The intensity of the sun this near the Equator makes it seem much hotter, but the effects of the changes in humidity are even stronger. During the summer months, which make up the rainy season and coincide with the hurricane season, high humidity levels greatly intensify the discomfort of the higher temperatures. During the winter, which is the "dry" tourist season, it can feel almost cold in the evenings. Even during those months a significant amount of rain falls.

Population

Approximately 260,000 people live in Barbados, with about 123,000 of them residing in the capital of Bridgetown.

Arawak Indians are thought to have lived here once, only to be destroyed by the fierce Carib Indians who then abandoned the island. Barbados was uninhabited when British sailors landed at what is now Hole-town, in 1625. As the sugar industry developed into the main commercial interest, Barbados was divided into huge estates. Slaves were brought from Africa to work the plantations until slavery was abolished throughout the British Empire in 1834.

Barbados is much more densely populated than its Eastern Caribbean island neighbors. The people of Barbados came from Africa, England, South America, North America, other Caribbean nations, and, more recently, from Asian countries. Over 90% of the population is directly descended from African slaves, and they dominate the island's politics. Over the last 15 years, a growing interest in exploring their African cultural heritage has occurred. Approximately 20% of the population are of mixed black and white blood, with shades of skin color playing an important role in defining how Barbadians view one another. This can be seen in the variety of terms used to describe the variations between black and whitebrown skin, light skin, fair skin, high brown, red, and mulatto among them. About 7% of the population is white, and still control much of the economic activity on the island. Since the mid-1980s, a willingness on the part of educated blacks and others to discuss racial problems and concepts has often led to heated debates. Racially motivated violence, however, is rare to nonexistent.

Barbadians consider themselves as friendly, relaxed, and informal, and many visitors to Barbados who stay for only a few days or weeks leave with that same impression. Outsiders who live here, however, perceive Barbadians as more reserved, formal, and less spontaneous and outgoing than any other people in the West Indies. They are not nearly so quick as Americans to deal with others on a first-name basis, resorting more often to titles and formal forms of address. A proud people, Barbadians may take offense easily to any perceived slight, and sometimes seem to be looking for signs of disrespect or condescension.

English is the official language, but dialects vary from country to country in the region, as well as from parish to parish on each island. Most Americans need some time to adapt to the heavy Barbadian dialect, which can become absolutely impenetrable at will. A French patois is spoken widely in St. Lucia, Dominica, and in certain areas of St. Vincent as these islands were all under French control at one time or another.

Public Institutions

From the arrival of the first British settlers in 1627 until independence in 1966, Barbados was under British control. Its House of Assembly, which began meeting in 1639, is the third oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere, preceded only by Bermuda's legislature and the Virginia House of Burgesses.

Local politics at that time were dominated by a small group of British plantation owners and tradesmen. It was not until the 1930s that a movement for political rights was begun by educated descendants of the emancipated slaves. One of the leaders, Sir Grantley Adams, founded the Barbados Labor Party in 1938.

Progress toward a more democratic government was made in 1950 when universal suffrage was introduced. This was followed by steps toward increased self-government until full internal autonomy was achieved in 1961.

From 1958 to 1962, Barbados was one of 10 members in the West Indies Federation. When the Federation was terminated, Barbados reverted to its former status as a self-governing colony. Following several attempts to form another federation composed of Barbados and the Leeward and Windward Islands, Barbados negotiated its own independence at a constitutional conference with the U.K. in June 1966. After years of peaceful, democratic, and evolutionary progress toward self-rule, Barbados attained independence on November 30, 1966.

Barbados is now an independent and sovereign state within the Commonwealth. Under the current constitution, Barbados is a Westminster-style parliamentary democracy. The Queen of England, Barbados titular head of state, appoints a Governor General as her representative in Barbados. The bicameral Parliament, consisting of an appointed Senate and an elected House of Assembly, is supreme. The Prime Minister (normally the leader of the House majority party) and other Cabinet members are appointed from among the House members. The Senate consists of 21 members; the House, 28. The Governor General appoints all Senators: 7 without advice to represent religious, economic, social, or other interests; 12 on the advice of the Prime Minister; and 2 on the advice of the opposition leader. The country's two major political parties, the Barbados Labor Party and the Democratic Labor Party (which arose out of the labor movement in the West Indies) have precipitated much of the country's political change.

The judiciary comprises the Supreme Court of Barbados and numerous courts of summary jurisdiction. The Supreme Court includes a Court of Appeal and a High Court.

The island is divided into 11 parishes and the city of Bridgetown. No local government exists, and all these divisions are administered by the central government.

The territories are linked in various ways, but little popular support exists to merge the islands into a common Caribbean or other regional political grouping. There have been unsuccessful attempts to form a single political union.

Arts, Science, and Education

The educational system, traditionally geared to prepare administrative and clerical personnel as well as some university entrants, has changed recently. Certain branches of technical training, especially manufacturing, engineering service, hotel management, and management training, have progressed greatly.

The government operates primary and secondary schools, and through grants, aids some private schools, all of which offer regular academic subjectsEnglish, math, languages, science, history, and geography. The educational system is patterned after the British model. The Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies (UWI) has faculties of law, arts, and general studies, natural and social sciences, and a school of education. Other UWI facilities are located at the Jamaica and Trinidad campuses. The Barbados Community College offers junior college-level courses in commercial, engineering subjects and liberal arts and recently introduced the associate degree program modeled after the U.S. system. The Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic Institute concentrates on vocational and technical education. Erdiston College conducts a 2-year teacher training course. Codrington College, an Anglican seminary dating back to the early 1700s, now is also affiliated with UWI.

Each year the National Cultural Foundation (NCF) sponsors a guitar festival in February, and the National Independence Festival of Creative Arts (NIFCA) in November. The Caribbean and Latin American Music Society (CLAMS) sponsors a series of classical chamber music concerts in January, and the Barbados Dance Theater sponsors a "season of dance" in March. All of these activities involve a limited number of amateur performances (usually fewer than six) over the space of a few days. The NCF also sponsors the island's largest festival, Crop-Over, from June to August. This is similar to the Carnival celebrated on other islands in the Caribbean. It includes calypso competitions and other festivities, culminating in "Kadooment," a street parade of costumes and general merrymaking.

Throughout the year, performances by calypso artists, amateur theatrical productions, the Barbados Symphonia (a local orchestral ensemble), and a variety of talent competitions and concerts by local groups and church choirs are offered. Several local art shows are also here.

Commerce and Industry

Historically, sugar production was Barbados' largest industry since its introduction in the 17th century. But in recent years, tourism and light industry have surpassed sugar both as foreign exchange earners and employers.

Tourism is a major industry in Barbados and continues to increase each year, with an 8% growth in 2000. The majority of visitors are from the United Kingdom, but U.S. visitors have increased in the past few years. To encourage tourism and industrial development, the government is expanding the recently completed major highway program that links the airport, deep-water harbor, several industrial parks.

Sugar production continues and even rose by about 10% in 2000 to its highest yield since 1997. Most of the sugar produced is sold to the European Community at a guaranteed price. Non-sugar agricultural production, vegetables and cotton, grew by about 6%%. However, agriculture only accounts for about 4% of the GDP, and imports are still needed to provide Barbados with much of what it needs to survive, not only in foods, but in energy and other consumer products. In 2000, Barbados import expense was about $800 million. Major trading partners are the U.K. and the U.S.

Barbados is a member of CARICOM, a regional trade alliance.

Unions play an important role in the nation's political and economic development. Some 40% of the work force is unionized, and the labor movement, particularly the Barbados Workers Union, has traditionally been a significant factor in the political process in Barbados.

Transportation

Local

Barbados has an extensive road network900 miles of paved roadsbut the roads are narrow, poorly developed, and many are indifferently maintained. Blind corners and dangerous intersections are encountered throughout the island. The tropical climate includes frequent brief rains that leave the roadway extremely slippery. The lack of sidewalks means pedestrians are often encountered in the road. Traffic tends to be congested in Bridgetown during daytime hours.

Inexpensive public bus service covers nearly all the island. Buses are not air-conditioned and are overcrowded during rush hours and on Saturdays when people go to market. Independently owned minivans operate at low cost and breakneck speed, with a minimum of regulation and according to no published schedule. Taxis are available in population centers and at most hotels, but fares are too high for regular use.

Regional

Daily flights are available to Miami, New York, and through San Juan to other cities. Travel from the U.S. to the other islands of the Caribbean can be expensive, particularly in the high seasonmid-December to mid-April. Travel within the Caribbean islands costs the same year round. Several local travel agents offer moderately priced packages over holiday weekends and during the low season to the other Caribbean islands, Puerto Rico, and Caracas. Martinique, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, St. Lucia, and Grenada are close.

Communications

Telephone and Telegraph

The telephone system in Barbados is good, with direct-dial service via satellite to the U.S. Repairs can take a very long time. The area code for Barbados and most of the Caribbean is 809. Direct calls are expensive, but cheaper when charged to a U.S. telephone credit card (currently, AT&T and cable and wireless have an agreement to permit use of AT&T cards in Barbados). Telegraph service is also good.

Radio and TV

Two local AM radio stations, four local FM radio stations, and one wired service are available only to subscribers. The AM stations favor West Indian sounds, with lively discussions on local issues and extensive local news coverage. The FM stations present American pop, easy listening, and religious formats. One of the FM stations also presents a classical program on the weekends. The wire service, Rediffusion, carries classical music, drama, and literature. The BBC's World News is broadcast on both AM and FM daily. In addition to the Barbados stations, several regionally based radio stations can be picked up on the AM band, including Radio Francaise Outre-Mer and stations in Grenada, St. Vincent, Puerto Rico, Trinidad, and Venezuela. VOA is carried 7 hours a day over Radio Antilles (930 AM).

The Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation's (CBC) TV station carries 12 hours of programming daily, including about 4 hours of CNN Headline News weekday mornings. Evening programming is a mix of older American and British serials, locally produced news, and information and entertainment shows. Sesame Street is telecast weekday afternoons. CBC broadcasts in NTSC and U.S. sets operate without adjustment. They have recently made available four subscriber channels, ESPN, CNN, TNT South, and Lifetime, at a fee comparable to U.S. cable services that have many more channels.

Newspapers, Magazines, and Technical Journals

Barbados has two daily newspapers, The Nation and The Advocate, both published in Bridgetown and available throughout the island. These concentrate on local and regional news. Their coverage of international news not directly affecting Barbados is limited. Home delivery is available. A local distributor offers same day or 1-day-later provision of The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, The Herald Tribune and The New York Times.

Popular U.S. magazines may be purchased at the three or four local bookstores and newsstands, but they are expensive. International editions of U.S. news magazines are available locally.

Barbados has a public library system, and the small central library has a fair collection. Several local bookstores carry a very limited selection of paperbacks and hard-bound books at very high prices.

Health and Medicine

Medical Facilities

Barbados has good medical facilities, and most medical specialties have practitioners here. Some areas of medical practice are lacking, however, and certain ailments and injuries cannot be adequately treated locally.

Medical facilities on the other islands are barely adequate, and most lack the facilities to treat major medical problems. Each island has at least one hospital, but complicated cases are usually transferred to Barbados.

Two main hospitals, the government-supported Queen Elizabeth Hospital and the private Bayview Hospital are available, along with local polyclinics. The selection of a personal or family physician is the responsibility of the individual and should be done as soon as possible. The physician with whom you register will determine at which hospital you will receive treatment. In case of emergency, your private physician will meet you at the hospital, which will greatly speed the care given.

Individual or family counseling is available through recommended community resources.

Therapy services, including physical, occupational, and speech, are available both privately and through government services. Most therapists are trained abroad in the U.S., U.K., or Canada and provide good-quality care by U.S. standards.

General dental and orthodontic services are available. When possible, crowns, root canals, dental surgery, etc., should be done in the U.S.

Not all local pharmacists will fill U.S. physician prescriptions. In general, pharmacists will supply a medicine to someone who has run out of a supply while visiting, if the vial and some form of identification are produced. Drug agencies in Barbados order from all over the world, including the U.S., with many of the brand names supplied in the U.S. available here, sometimes at a lower price.

Community Health

The Government of Barbados is continuing its efforts to improve sanitation. Most residences in Bridgetown are connected to sewers. Free garbage pickup is provided once or twice a week in many areas. Sanitation inspectors periodically check homes, hotels, restaurants, and factories to control flies and mosquitoes.

Barbados has pure water, filtered through 600 feet of coral. Tap-water is potable. The water is not fluoridated. The water's lime and calcium content are high. Do not assume the tap-water is potable on the other islands. Drink bottled water, soft drinks, etc.

Preventive Measures

The intense sunlight is a serious hazard. Use sunscreen daily before leaving home. Children particularly need to be protected from overexposure. Sunscreen is available locally. The climate can cause heat exhaustion, sunburn, and fatigue. Drink plenty of fluids to offset increased perspiration.

Local milk and milk products are safe. Fruits and vegetables need only washing.

Skin problems such as acne and fungal infections may be aggravated by the humid climate, and extra measures of hygiene are necessary. Photosensitivity reactions from taking certain medications may occur. Pollen from cane, cashews, and other flora may cause allergic reactions. Some people suffer gastrointestinal disturbances after arrival, but the effects are generally slight and mainly due to the change in eating habits, climate, and water. External ear infections are common. Hookworms, roundworms, and pin-worms are common, but normally do not present a problem to resident Americans.

Dengue fever occurs periodically. No protection is available other than the avoidance of mosquito bites. Use coils and repellants. A few cases of bilharzia (schistosomiasis) continue to be reported annually on St. Lucia as well as the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe. To avoid the disease, do not expose any part of the body to any freshwater streams, lakes, or pools. Tuberculosis is a recurrent problem in Dominica, and, to a lesser extent, in St. Lucia. Skin tests for tuberculosis are available in the Medical Unit.

LOCAL HOLIDAYS

The exact dates of some religious holidays are based on the lunar calendar and change each year.

Jan. 1 New Year's Day

Jan. 21 Errol Barrow's Birthday

Mar/Apr. Good Friday*

Mar/Apr. Easter Sunday*

May 1Labor Day

May/JuneWhitsunday*

May/JuneWhitmonday*

Aug. 1Emancipation Day

August (first Monday) Kadooment Day

October (first Monday) United Nations Day

Nov. 30Independence Day

Dec. 25 Christmas Day

Dec. 26 Boxing Day

*variable

NOTES FOR TRAVELERS

Passage, Customs & Duties

You can reach Bridgetown from Washington, D.C., by air via New York or Miami. American Airlines has daily flights from JFK and Miami with a stopover in San Juan. No regularly scheduled U.S. passenger liner service is available between the U.S. and Barbados.

U.S. citizens may enter Barbados for up to 28 days without a valid passport, but must carry original documentation proving U.S. citizenship (i.e. valid or expired U.S. passport, certified U.S. birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Certificate of Naturalization, or Certificate of Citizenship), state-issued photo identification and an onward or return ticket. U.S. citizen visitors who enter Barbados without these items, even if admitted by immigration authorities, may encounter difficulties in boarding flights for return to the United States. U.S. citizens entering with documents other than U.S. passports should take special care to secure those documents while travelling. It can be time-consuming and difficult to acquire new proof of citizenship to facilitate return travel. The Barbados government requires payment of a service tax upon departure from the island.

Barbados customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Barbados of items such as firearms and agricultural products. It is advisable to contact the Embassy of Barbados in Washington, D.C. or one of Barbados's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.

Americans living in or visiting Barbados are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Barbados and obtain updated information on travel and security within Barbados. The U.S. Embassy is located in Bridgetown at the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce (CIBC) Building on Broad Street, telephone (246) 436-4950, web site http://usembassy.state.gov/posts/bb1/wwwhemb1.html. The Consular Section is located in the American Life Insurance Company (ALICO) Building, Cheapside, telephone (246) 431-0225 or fax (246) 431-0179, web site http://www.usembassy.state.gov/posts/bb1/wwwhcons.html. Hours of operation are 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except local and U.S. holidays.

Pets

Barbados is rabies free, and the authorities are determined to keep it so. Most families purchase animals locally. Some purebred animals are sold locally, but they are expensive. Dogs and cats can generally be imported into Barbados only from the U.K. If you want to import a dog or cat, strict quarantine regulations require that the animal be quarantined for 6 months in the U.K. You must then apply for an import permit from the Barbados Ministry of Agriculture at least 30 days in advance of pet's arrival date. Importation from another rabies-free country is not always permitted, but the cost savings make it worth taking the steps to apply for an import permit from the Ministry of Agriculture well in advance of your arrival. The U.K. Ministry of Agriculture will supply a list of recommended kennels for quarantine upon request. If you want to import other animals, you must obtain an import permit from the Barbados Ministry of Agriculture before shipping the animal. Excellent veterinarians are located on the island who offer boarding facilities as well. Currency, Banking, and Weights and Measures

The monetary unit is the Barbados dollar (BDS$), comprising 100¢. US$1= BDS$2 (fixed rate). Most hotels and restaurants on the island accept U.S. currency. The East Caribbean dollar (EC$), comprising 100¢, is also accepted. US$1=EC$2.70. Rates seldom fluctuate.

The Central Bank of Barbados issues Barbados currency in denominations of $100, $50, $20, $10, $5, and $2 in notes. Coins are issued in $1, 25¢, 10¢, 5¢, and 1¢ denominations. The Caribbean Currency Authority issues East Caribbean notes in denominations of $100, $20, $10, $5, and $1. Coins are minted in 50¢, 25¢, 10¢, 5¢, 2¢, and 1¢ denominations.

Barbados and the other islands of the Eastern Caribbean use the metric system.

Disaster Preparedness

All Caribbean countries can be affected by hurricanes. The hurricane season normally runs from June to the end of November, but there have been hurricanes in December in recent years. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov.

RECOMMENDED READING

The following titles are provided as a general indication of the material published on this country. The Department of State does not endorse unofficial publications.

Several books are available in Barbados regarding West Indian life, history, and culture. Most are not widely available outside of the Caribbean. Rather than include a long list of these books here, members of the Embassy staff recommend newcomers read the following books, which are available in the U.S. as an introduction to Barbados.

A-Z of Barbadian Heritage. Kingston, Jamaica: Heinemann Publications, 1990.

Alleyne, W. The Barbados Garrison and Its Buildings. Hampshire, England: Macmillan Caribbean, 1990.

Beckles, Hilary. A History of Barbados. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Broberg, Merle. Barbados. New York: Chelsea House, 1988.

Hoefer, Hans. Barbados: Insight Guides. APA Publications: Singapore, 1985.

Hoyos, F.A. Barbados: A History from Amerindians to Independence. Macmillan Publishers.

Michener, James. Caribbean. New York: Random House, 1989.

Pariser, H. Adventure Guide to Barbados. New York: Hunter Publishing, 1990.

Potter, Robert B., and Graham M. S. Dann, comps. Barbados. Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 1987.

Wouk, Herman. Don't Stop the Carnival. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1965.

views updated

BARBADOS

Compiled from the November 2003 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.




Official Name:
Barbados




PROFILE
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-BARBADIAN RELATIONS
TRAVEL


PROFILE


Geography

Area: 431 sq. km. (166 sq. mi.); about three times the size of Washington, DC.

Cities: Capital—Bridgetown.

Terrain: Generally flat, hilly in the interior.

Climate: Tropical.


People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Barbadian(s); also "Bajan(s)."

Population: (2003 estimate) 276, 607 (WF).

Average annual growth rate: (2001) 0.4%.

Ethnic groups: Black 90%, White 4%, Asian or mixed 6% (WF).

Religions: Protestant 67% (Anglican 40%, Pentecostal 8%, Methodist 7%, other 12%), Roman Catholic 4%, none 17%, other 12% (WF).

Language: English.

Education: Attendance—primary school 100%, secondary school 93%. Adult literacy—99%.

Health: Infant mortality rate (1998)—7.8/1,000. Life expectancy
70.9 yrs. (WF) men; 76.12 yrs. women (2002 est. WF).

Work force: (2001, 142,000) Commerce, tourism, government, manufacturing, construction, mining, agriculture, fishing.

Unemployment: (2001) 9.9%.

Government

Type: Parliamentary democracy; independent sovereign state within the Commonwealth.

Independence: November 30, 1966.

Constitution: 1966.

Branches: Executive —governor general (representing Queen Elizabeth II, head of state), prime minister (head of government), cabinet. Legislative—bicameral Parliament. Judicial—magistrate's courts, Supreme Court (High Court and Court of Appeals), privy council in London.

Subdivisions: Eleven parishes and the city of Bridgetown.

Political parties: Barbados Labor Party (BLP, incumbent), Democratic Labor Party (DLP), National Democratic Party (NDP).

Suffrage: Universal at 18.


Economy

GDP: (in U.S. billions) $2.6.

Gross domestic savings ratio: (2001) 13.4%.

GDP growth rate: (2002) -0.4%.

Per capita GDP: (2002) $12,000.

Average inflation rate: (2002) 20.17%.

Natural resources: Petroleum, Fishing, natural gas.

Agriculture: (4% of GDP) Sugar accounts for 2.4% of GDP and 80% of arable land.

Industry: Manufacturing and construction (17% of GDP)—food, beverages, textiles, paper, chemicals, fabricated products.

Services: (76% of GDP) Tourism, banking and other financial services, Informatics (data processing).

Trade: (2001) Exports—$259 million. Major markets—U.S. 17%, CARICOM 45%, U.K. 14%, and Canada 3%. Imports—$1,068 million. Major suppliers—U.S. 42%, U.K. 8%, Canada 4%, CARICOM 15%.

Official exchange rate: Barbados dollars (BDS) 2=U.S.$1.




PEOPLE

About 90% of Barbados' population is of African descent, 4% European descent, and 6% Asian or mixed. About 40% of Barbadians are Anglican, and the rest mostly Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, and Moravian. There also are small Jewish and Muslim communities. Barbados' population growth rate has been very low, less than 1% since the1960s, largely due to family planning efforts and a high emigration rate.




HISTORY

British sailors who landed on Barbados in the 1620s at the site of presentday Holetown on the Caribbean coast found the island uninhabited. As elsewhere in the eastern Caribbean, Arawak Indians may have been annihilated by invading Caribs, who are believed to have subsequently abandoned the island.


From the arrival of the first British settlers in 1627-28 until independence in 1966, Barbados was a self-funding colony under uninterrupted British rule. Nevertheless, Barbados always enjoyed a large measure of local autonomy. Its House of Assembly, which began meeting in 1639, is the third-oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere, preceded only by Bermuda's legislature and the Virginia House of Burgesses.


As the sugar industry developed into the main commercial enterprise, Barbados was divided into large plantation estates, which replace the small holdings of the early British settlers. Some of the displaced farmers relocated to British colonies in North America. To work the plantations, slaves were brought from Africa; the slave trade ceased a few years before the abolition of slavery throughout the British empire in 1834.


Plantation owners and merchants of British descent dominated local politics. It was not until the 1930s that the descendants of emancipated slaves began a movement for political rights. One of the leaders of this movement, Sir Grantley Adams, founded the Barbados Labor Party in 1938. Progress toward more democratic government for Barbados was made in 1951, when the first general election under universal adult suffrage occurred. This was followed by steps toward increased self-government, and in 1961, Barbados achieved internal autonomy.


From 1958 to 1962, Barbados was one of 10 members of the West Indies Federation, and Sir Grantley Adams served as its first and only prime minister. When the federation was terminated, Barbados reverted to its former status as a self-governing colony. Following several attempts to form another federation composed of Barbados and the Leeward and Windward Islands, Barbados negotiated its own independence at a constitutional conference with the United Kingdom in June 1966. After years of peaceful and democratic progress, Barbados became an independent state within the British Commonwealth on November 30, 1966.

Under its constitution, Barbados is a parliamentary democracy modeled on the British system. The governor general represents the monarch. Control of the government rests with the cabinet, headed by the prime minister and responsible to the Parliament.


The bicameral Parliament consists of the House of Assembly and Senate. The 30 members of the House are elected by universal suffrage to 5-year terms. Elections may be called at any time the government wishes to seek a new mandate or if the government suffers a vote of no-confidence in Parliament, with a 5-year maximum duration for Parliament. The Senate's 21 members are appointed by the governor general — 12 with the advice of the prime minister, two with the advice of the leader of the opposition, and seven at the governor general's discretion to represent segments of the community.


Barbados has an independent judiciary composed of magistrate courts, which are statutorily authorized, and a Supreme Court, which is constitutionally mandated. The Supreme Court consists of the high court and the court of appeals, each with four judges. The Chief Justice serves on both the high court and the court of appeals. The court of last resort is the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty's Privy Council in London, whose decisions are binding on all parties. Judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister after consultation with the leader of the opposition.


The island is divided into 11 parishes and the city of Bridgetown for administrative purposes. There is no local government. Barbados' defense expenditures account for about 2.5% of the government budget.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The three political parties—the Barbados Labor Party (BLP), the Democratic Labor Party (DLP), and the semi-defunct National Democratic Party (NDP)—are all moderate and have no major ideological differences; electoral contests and political disputes often have personal overtones. The major political problems facing Barbados today are in promoting economic growth: creating jobs, encouraging agricultural diversification, attracting foreign investment, and promoting tourism.


The ruling BLP was decisively returned to power in May 2003 elections, winning 23 seats in the Parliament with the DLP gaining seven seats. The Prime Minister, Owen Arthur, who also serves as Minister of Finance and Minister of Culture, has given a high priority to economic development and diversification. The main opposition party, the DLP, is led by Sen. Clyde Mascoll, who was elected President of the DLP in 2001, as part of a party reorganization.


Principal Government Officials
Last Updated: 8/29/03


Governor General: Husbands, Clifford, Sir

Prime Minister: Arthur, Owen

Dep. Prime Min.: Mottley, Mia

Special Envoy to the Prime Minister on Technology, Investment, & Trade: Goddard, Phillip

Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development: Griffith, Erskine

Min. of the Civil Service: Arthur, Owen

Min. of Commerce, Consumer Affairs, & Business Development: Eastmond, Lynette

Min. of Defense & Security: Arthur, Owen

Min. of Education, Youth Affairs, & Sports: Farley, Reginald

Min. of Energy & Public Utilities: Wood, Anthony

Min. of Finance & Economic Affairs: Arthur, Owen Min. of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade: Miller, Billie

Min. of Health: Walcott, Jerome, Dr.

Min. of Home Affairs: Mottley, Mia

Min. of Housing, Lands, & Environment: Thompson, Elizabeth

Min. of Industry & International Business: Marshall, Dale

Min. of Information: Arthur, Owen

Min. of Labor & Social Security: Eastmond, Rawle

Min. of Public Works: Clarke, Gline

Min. of Social Transformation: Lashley, Hamilton

Min. of Tourism & International Transport: Lynch, Noel Anderson

Min. of State for Education: Forde, Cynthia

Min. of State for Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade: Symmonds, Kerrie

Min. of State in the Prime Minister's Office: Williams, John

Attorney General: Mottley, Mia

Governor, Central Bank: Williams, Marion

Ambassador to the US: King, Michael

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Clarke, June Yvonne



Barbados maintains an embassy in the United States located at 2144 Wyoming Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-939-9200), a consulate general in New York City at 800 2nd Avenue, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10017 (tel. 212-867-8435), and a consulate general in Miami at 150 Alhambra Circle, Suite 1270, Coral Gables, FL33134 (tel. 305-442-1994).




ECONOMY

Since independence, Barbados has transformed itself from a low-income economy dependent upon sugar production to a middle-income economy based on tourism. The economy went into a deep recession in 1990 after 3 years of steady decline brought on by fundamental macroeconomic imbalances. After a painful readjustment process, the economy began to grow again in 1993. Growth rates averaged between 3%-5% since then until 2001, when the economy contracted 2.8%. As 2004 nears, there are signs of a gradual economic recovery.


The main factors responsible for the decline in economic activity include a decrease in the number of tourist arrivals following September 11 events, the general global economic downturn, and the impact of a depreciated Euro on sugar exports. Offshore banking and financial services have become an increasingly important source of foreign exchange and economic growth.


By year-end 2001, the recession led to a rise in unemployment, led by net decreases in employment in the tourism sector, as well as in construction and manufacturing sectors. The public service remains Barbados' largest-single employer. The employed labor force totaled 128,600 persons at the end of 2001, and the unemployed labor force expanded from 13,000 in 2000 to 14,000 in 2001. At the end of 2001, 62,900 persons were economically inactive. Unemployment rose in 2002 to 10.3%, but is still significantly lower than the 20% levels of the early 1990s.




FOREIGN RELATIONS

As a small nation, the primary thrust of Barbados' diplomatic activity has been within international organizations. The island is a member of the Commonwealth and participates in its activities. Barbados was admitted to the United Nations in December 1966. Barbados joined the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1967.


On July 4, 1973, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Jamaica signed a treaty in Trinidad to found the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM). In May 1974, most of the remaining English-speaking Caribbean states joined CARICOM, which now has 14 members. Barbados also is a member of the Caribbean Development Bank, established in 1970, with headquarters in Bridgetown. The eastern Caribbean's Regional Security System, which associates Barbados with six other island nations, also is headquartered in Barbados. In July 1994, Barbados joined the newly established Association of Caribbean States (ACS).

As a member of CARICOM, Barbados supported efforts by the United States to implement UN Security Council Resolution 940, designed to facilitate the departure of Haiti's de facto authorities from power. The country agreed to contribute personnel to the multinational force, which restored the democratically elected government of Haiti in October 1994.


In May 1997, Prime Minister Owen Arthur hosted President Clinton and 14 other Caribbean leaders during the first-ever U.S.-regional summit in Bridgetown, Barbados. The summit strengthened the basis for regional cooperation on justice and counternarcotics issues, finance and development, and trade.


Barbados has diplomatic missions headed by resident ambassadors or high commissioners in Canada, the U.K., the U.S., and Venezuela, and at the European Union (Brussels) and the UN. It also has resident consuls general in Toronto, Miami, and New York City. Brazil, Canada, Colombia, China, Guatemala, the U.K., the U.S., and Venezuela have ambassadors or high commissioners resident in Barbados.




U.S.-BARBADIAN RELATIONS

In 1751, George Washington visited Barbados, making what is believed to have been his only trip abroad. The U.S. Government has been represented on Barbados since 1824. From 1956 to 1978, the U.S. operated a naval facility in Barbados.


The U.S. and Barbados have had friendly bilateral relations since Barbados' independence in 1966. The U.S. has supported the government's efforts to expand the country's economic base and to provide a higher standard of living for its citizens. Barbados is a beneficiary of the U.S. Caribbean Basin Initiative. U.S. assistance is channeled primarily through multilateral agencies such as the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, and the recently opened USAID Caribbean Regional Program office in Bridgetown.


Barbados also receives substantial counternarcotics assistance and is eligible to benefit from the U.S. military's exercise-related and humanitarian assistance construction program.


Barbados and U.S. authorities cooperate closely in the fight against narcotics trafficking and other forms of transnational crime. In 1996, the U.S. and Barbados signed a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) and an updated extradition treaty covering all common offenses, including conspiracy and organized crime. A maritime law enforcement agreement was signed in 1997. Barbados is the headquarters of the Regional Security System (RSS), which involves the Coast Guards of the OECS. It is currently supported by U.S. funding but is due to evolve into a regionally funded organization according to an agreed schedule.


A popular tourist destination, Barbados had over one million total tourists in 2002, mainly cruise ship visitors. The majority of tourists are from the U.K., the Caribbean, or the U.S. Approximately 140,000 Americans visited the island last year. An estimated 3,000 Americans reside in the country.


Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Bridgetown (E), Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Bldg., Broad Street • P.O. Box 302 or FPO AA 34055, Tel (246) 436-4950, Fax 429-5246 and 429-3379, Telex 2259


USEMB BG1 WB, Marine Sec. Guard, Tel 436-8995; CON Fax 431-0179; AID Tel 228-8584, Fax 228-8589; PAO Fax 429-5316; MLO Fax 427-1668; LEGATT Fax 437-7772; NAS Fax 431-0262; DEA Fax 436-7524.

AMB: Earl N. Phillips, Jr.
AMB OMS: E. Lakita Carden
DCM: Marcia S. Bernicat
POL/ECO: Paul Belmont
ECO: Y. Viki Limaye
COM: Terry Sorgi (res. Santo Domingo)
CON: Robert Fretz
MGT: Leo Voytko
RSO: Daniel Becker
PAO: Kathleen L. Boyle
IRM: Charles O'Malley
AID: Ronald Stryker
DAO: LTC David Robles
MLO: CDR Christopher Sinnett
REA: David Alarid (res. San Jose)
AGR: Margie Bauer (res. Miami)
LAB: [Vacant]
LEGATT: Susan R. Chainer
IRS: Cheryl Kast (res. Mexico City)
FAA: Dawn Flanagan (res. Miami)
DEA: Hollis Williams

Last Modified: Wednesday, September 24, 2003


Other Contact Information

U.S. Department of Commerce:

International Trade Administration, Office of Latin America and the Caribbean
14th & Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20230
Tel: 202-482-1658 800-USA-Trade;
Fax: 202-482-0464.


Caribbean/Latin American Action:
1818 N Street, NW; Suite 310
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: 202-466-7464
Fax: 202-822-0075.


Eastern Caribbean-American Chamber of Commerce:
P.O. Box 111; St. Michael, Barbados
Tel: 246-436-9493
Fax:246-43-9494.
Email: [email protected]/
Website: www.ecamcham.org




TRAVEL


Consular Information Sheet
January 12, 2004


Country Description: Barbados is an independent island nation in the Caribbean with a moderately developed economy. The capital is Bridgetown. Facilities for tourism are widely available. The U.S. Embassy in Barbados has consular responsibility over Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as the British dependent territories of Anguilla, British Virgin Islands and Montserrat, and the French islands of Martinique and Guadeloupe and their dependencies.

Entry and Exit Requirements: Beginning March 1, 2004, U.S. citizens must enter Barbados using a valid U.S. passport. No visa is needed to enter Barbados for stays up to 28 days. Until February 29, 2004, U.S. citizens may enter Barbados for up to 28 days without a valid passport, but must carry original documentation proving U.S. citizenship (i.e. valid or expired U.S. passport, certified U.S. birth certificate, Consular Report of Birth Abroad, Certificate of Naturalization, or Certificate of Citizenship), state-issued photo identification and an onward or return ticket. U.S. citizen visitors who enter Barbados before March 1, 2004 without these items, even if admitted by immigration authorities, may encounter difficulties in boarding flights for return to the United States. U.S. citizens entering Barbados before March 1, 2004 with documents other than U.S. passports should take special care to secure those documents while traveling. It can be time-consuming and difficult to acquire new proof of citizenship to facilitate return travel. There is a departure tax for travelers over the age of twelve.


In an effort to prevent international child abduction, many governments have initiated procedures at entry/exit points. These often include requiring documentary evidence of relationship and permission for the child's travel from the parent(s) or legal guardian not present. Having such documentation on hand, even if not required, may facilitate entry/departure.


For further information, travelers may contact the Embassy of Barbados, 2144 Wyoming Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 939-9200, fax (202) 332-7467, Internet e-mail: [email protected]; or the consulates of Barbados in Los Angeles, Miami or New York.

Safety and Security: For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet website at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found.


The Overseas Citizens Services call center at 1-888-407-4747 can answer general inquiries on safety and security overseas. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.


Crime: Crime in Barbados is characterized by petty theft and street crime, but incidents of violent crime including rape, drug related crimes, auto theft and home invasions appear to be on the rise, particularly in Bridgetown. Crimes occur day and night, with criminals usually traveling with non-lethal weapons in groups of two or more. There has been an increase in robberies of tourists, including armed robbery, and visitors to Barbados should be especially vigilant on the beaches at night. Reports of valuables stolen out of parked automobiles and hotel rooms have increased in recent months; visitors should try to secure valuables when left unattended and take care to always lock hotel room doors. Police are generally ineffective in deterring crime and response times can be extreme.


The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.


U.S. citizens may refer to the Department of State's pamphlet, A Safe Trip Abroad, for ways to promote a trouble-free journey. The pamphlet is available by mail from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, D.C. 20402, via the Internet at http://www.gpoaccess.gov, or via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov.


Medical Facilities: Medical care is generally good, but medical transport can take hours to respond and ambulance attendants are prohibited from applying lifesaving techniques during transport. Minor problems requiring a visit to the emergency room can involve a wait of several hours, however, private clinics and physicians can offer speedier service. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services, and U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.


Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation. U.S. medical insurance plans seldom cover health costs incurred outside the United States unless supplemental coverage is purchased. Further, U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States. However, many travel agents and private companies offer insurance plans that will cover health care expenses incurred overseas including emergency services such as medical evacuations.

When making a decision regarding health insurance, Americans should consider that many foreign doctors and hospitals require payment in cash prior to providing service and that a medical evacuation to the U.S. may cost well in excess of $50,000. Uninsured travelers who require medical care overseas often face extreme difficulties, whereas travelers who have purchased overseas medical insurance have, when a medical emergency occurs, found it lifesaving. When consulting with your insurer prior to your trip, ascertain whether payment will be made to the overseas health care provider or whether you will be reimbursed later for expenses you incur. Some insurance policies also include coverage for psychiatric treatment and for disposition of remains in the event of death.


Useful information on medical emergencies abroad, including overseas insurance programs, is provided in the Department of State's Bureau of Consular Affairs brochure, Medical Information for Americans Traveling Abroad, available via the Bureau of Consular Affairs home page.


Other Health Information: Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel/. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.


Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Barbados is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Safety of Public Transportation: Good
Urban Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Rural Road Conditions/Maintenance: Fair
Availability of Roadside Assistance: Fair


Driving in Barbados is on the lefthand side of the road. Taxis and buses are generally safe. Buses and vans are often crowded and tend to travel at high rates of speed. Night driving should be done with great caution because of narrow roads with no shoulders and pedestrian/bicycle traffic.


For additional general information about road safety, including links to foreign government sites, see the Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs home page at http://travel.state.gov/road_safety.html. For specific information concerning Barbados driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Barbados Tourism Authority at (212) 986-6516, www.barbados.org.


Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service by Barbadian carriers at present, or economic authority to operate such service, between the U.S. and Barbados, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Barbados' Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with international aviation safety standards.


For further information, travelers may contact the Department of Transportation within the U.S. at 1-800-322-7873, or visit the FAA's Internet website at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm. The U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) separately assesses some foreign air carriers for suitability as official providers of air services. For information regarding the DOD policy on specific carriers, travelers may contact DOD at (618) 229-4801.


Customs Regulations: Barbados customs authorities may enforce strict regulations concerning temporary importation into or export from Barbados of items such as firearms and agricultural products. For questions, travelers may wish to contact the Embassy of Barbados in Washington, D.C. or one of Barbados's consulates in the United States for specific information regarding customs requirements.


Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offenses. Persons violating Barbados laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Barbados are strict and convicted offenders can expect jail sentences and heavy fines. American citizens should never purchase marijuana or any other illegal substance. Persons who do so may expect extremely heavy fines and/or jail time (even for very small amounts).


Disaster Preparedness: All Caribbean countries can be affected by hurricanes. The hurricane season normally runs from June to the end of November, but there have been hurricanes in December in recent years. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.


Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, please refer to our Internet site at http://travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html or telephone the Overseas Citizens Services call center at 1-888-407-4747. The OCS call center can answer general inquiries regarding international adoptions and abductions and will forward calls to the appropriate country officer in the Bureau of Consular Affairs. This number is available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays). Callers who are unable to use toll-free numbers, such as those calling from overseas, may obtain information and assistance during these hours by calling 1-317-472-2328.

Registration/Embassy and Consulate Locations: Americans living in or visiting Barbados are encouraged to register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Barbados and obtain updated information on travel and security within Barbados. The U.S. E mbassy is located in Bridgetown in the First Caribbean International Bank building on Broad Street, telephone 1-246-436-4950, website Bridgetown. usembassy.gov. The Consular Section is located in the American Life Insurance Company (ALICO) Building, Cheapside, telephone 1-246-431-0225 or fax 1-246-431-0179, website http://usembassy.state.gov/posts/bb1/wwwhcons.html. Hours of operation are 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and 1:00 – 2:00 p.m. Monday through Friday, except Barbados and U.S. holidays.


There are separate Consular Information Sheets for Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Anguilla, the British Virgin Islands, Montserrat (the British West Indies), and the French West Indies (including Guadeloupe, Martinique and French St. Martin). U.S. citizens may call the Consular Section of the Embassy in Bridgetown to obtain updated information on travel and security in these areas.


International Parental Child Abduction
May 2002


The information below has been edited from the report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, American Citizen Services. For more information, please read the Guarding Against International Child Abduction section of this book and review current reports online at travel.state.gov


Disclaimer: The information in this circular relating to the legal requirements of a specific foreign country is provided for general information only. Questions involving interpretation of specific foreign laws should be addressed to foreign legal counsel.


General Information: Barbados is not a party to the Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction, nor are there any international or bilateral treaties in force between Barbados and the United States dealing with international parental child abduction. American citizens who travel to Barbados place themselves under the jurisdiction of local courts. American citizens planning a trip to Barbados with dual national children should bear this in mind.


Custody Disputes: In Barbados, if parents are legally married they share the custody of their children. If they are not married, by law the custody is granted to the mother unless there are known facts of inappropriate behavior, mental or social problems. Foreign court orders are not automatically recognized.


Enforcement of Foreign Judgments: Custody orders and judgments of foreign courts are not enforceable in Barbados.


Visitation Rights: In cases where one parent has been granted custody of a child, the other parent is usually granted visitation rights. The American Embassy in Bridgetown has reported few problems for non-custodial parents exercising their visitation rights. If a custodial parent fails to allow visitation, the non-custodial parent may appeal to the court.


Dual Nationality: Dual nationality is recognized under Barbadian law.


Children's Passport Issuance Alert Program: Separate from the two-parent signature requirement for U.S. passport issuance, parents may also request that their children's names be entered in the U.S. passport name-check system, also know as CPIAP. A parent or legal guardian can be notified by the Department of State's Office of Children's Issues before a passport is issued to his/her minor child. The parent, legal guardian or the court of competent jurisdiction must submit a written request for entry of a child's name into the Passport Issuance Alert program to the Office of Children's Issues. The CPIAP also provides denial of passport issuance if appropriate court orders are on file with the Office of Children's Issues. Although this system can be used to alert a parent or court when an application for a U.S. passport has been executed on behalf of a minor, it cannot be used to track the use of a passport that has already been issued. If there is a possibility that your child has another nationality you may want to contact the appropriate embassy or consulate directly to inquire about the possibility of denial of that country's passport. There is no requirement that foreign embassies adhere to U.S. regulations regarding issuance and denial of passports. For more information contact the Office of Children's Issues at 202-312-9700. General passport information is also available on the Office of Children's Issues home page on the internet at http://www.travel.state.gov/children's_issues.html.

Travel Restrictions: No exit visas are required to leave Barbados.


Persons who wish to pursue a child custody claim in a Barbadian court should retain an attorney in Barbados. The U.S. Embassy in Barbados maintains a list of attorneys willing to represent American clients. A copy of this list may be obtained by requesting one from the Embassy at:


U.S. Embassy Bridgetown

Consular Section
ALICO Building
Cheapside
Barbados
Mailing Address:
PO Box 302
Bridgetown
Barbados
Telephone: [246] 431-0225
Fax: [246] 431-0179
Website: http://www.usembassy.state.gov


*The workweek for the Embassy is Monday through Friday from 8:00am to 4:30pm.


Questions involving Barbadian law should be addressed to a Barbadian attorney or to the Embassy of Barbados in the United States at:


Embassy of Barbados

2144 Wyoming Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Telephone: (202) 939-9200

views updated

BARBADOS

COUNTRY OVERVIEW

LOCATION AND SIZE.

Barbados is an island situated between the Caribbean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela and east of the Windward Island chain. It covers an area of 430 square kilometers (166 square miles), roughly 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC. Its coastline is 97 kilometers (60 miles) in length and its capital, Bridgetown, is situated at a natural harbor on the southwest coast of the island.

POPULATION.

The population of Barbados was estimated at 274,540 in mid-2000, representing a growth rate of 0.55 percent over the preceding year. The average annual rate of population increase from 1995 stands at 0.3 percent. At current rates, the island's population will reach approximately 288,000 by 2010. The government wants to restrict population growth because Barbados is one of the most densely populated countries in the world (estimated at 619 people per square kilometer in 1997, or 1,603 people per square mile). There is a well-organized family planning program in the island and the birth rate, at 14.45 per 1,000 population in 2000, is one of the lowest in the region. The migration rate was extremely high until the 1970s but, at 0.32 migrants per 1,000 population, is now low by regional standards.

The age structure of Barbadians reflects government planning policy and high living standards, with only 22 percent of citizens aged 0-14 years, 69 percent between ages 15 and 64, and 9 percent over 65. The infant mortality rate is 12.37 per 1000. Approximately 80 percent of people are of African descent, while a small but economically powerful white minority accounts for about 4 percent of the population. The rest are of mixed ethnic background. English is both the official and the spoken language, and the religion is Christian, represented by Protestant, Anglican, Roman Catholic, and other conventional churches.

OVERVIEW OF ECONOMY

Despite its high population density and limited natural resources, Barbados has one of the more diversified and successful economies in the Caribbean. Since gaining independence from the United Kingdom (UK) in 1966, the island has enjoyed political stability, a factor that has encouraged the growth of tourism and other service industries. As a result, the country has dramatically reduced its dependence on sugar exports (although sugar remains the most important agricultural activity) and has developed not only its service sector but also some areas of manufacturing.

Strong growth in the 1970s came to an end with a recession in the late 1980s, as gross domestic product (GDP) contracted by 12.9 percent between 1989 and 1992. This drop was caused, in part, by difficulties in the sugar industry and by a downturn in tourism, due largely to a recession in North America. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) offered financial aid in return for a structural adjustment program that included pay cuts for public-sector workers and other austerity measures. The Barbados dollar was not devalued, however, as the government realized that the island's dependence on imported goods, including food, from the United States would create unacceptable hardship in the event of de-valuation . By 1993 the worst of the recession was over. In the late 1990s gross domestic product (GDP) growth was steady as tourism and export markets recovered. Growth between 1996 and 1998 was estimated at 4 percent annually, falling to 3.2 percent in 1999 and 2.8 percent in 2000.

The economic problems of the 1980s revealed underlying weaknesses in the Barbadian economy, which still exist today. The country runs a huge trade deficit , with imports 4 to 5 times the value of exports due to high demand for imported goods and food combined with poor export performance. The large public sector strains government resources in terms of salaries and other recurrent expenditures, resulting in regular fiscal deficits. The external debt stood at an estimated US$550 million in 1998. Tourism remains crucial to the economy, but Barbados faces serious competition from other Caribbean destinations, while its offshore manufacturing sector has been largely eroded by competition from lower-wage countries such as Mexico and the Dominican Republic.

More positively, the island has a diversified range of industries, producing consumer goods for the national and local markets. It also has a small but significant petroleum industry, producing enough fuel to meet about one-half of local needs, as well as significant reserves of natural gas.

POLITICS, GOVERNMENT, AND TAXATION

The political stability of democratic Barbados has been the envy of the Caribbean since independence in 1966. As a former British colony, the country parallels the British electoral and parliamentary systems, which has ensured regular and fair elections and the orderly transfer of power between political parties. The country is a member of the British Commonwealth, with the British monarch the constitutional head of state, represented by a governor general appointed by the Crown. The head of government is the prime minister, who presides over a cabinet appointed by the governor general on his advice. The bi-cameral, or 2-chamber, parliament consists of a 21-member Senate appointed by the governor general and a 28-member House of Assembly, elected by popular vote every 5 years.

Despite lively exchanges of views in parliament, Barbados's political system is based more on consensus than confrontation. Modern Barbadian politics has been dominated by 2 main parties, the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). Both are broadly social-democratic in outlook, favoring a mixed economy with a strong private sector and a measure of government intervention. The DLP is rather more left of center than its rival, while the BLP was for many years identified with the small, economically dominant, white elite. The BLP won elections in 1994 and again in 1999, capturing 26 out of 28 parliamentary seats with an unprecedented 64.8 percent of the vote. The National Democratic Party (NDP) has not held office.

Government has a strong and direct impact on the economy through its management of the large public sector, its tax policy, and its encouragement of foreign investment in key sectors. During the recession of the late 1980s, for instance, the DLP government was forced to introduce an 8 percent pay cut for public-sector workers in a bid to reduce state expenditure. In 1999, the BLP government finally agreed to restore this pay cut in 3 stages over a given period. The government regularly meets with representatives from the private sector and the trade unions, and a series of tripartite protocols covering wages, prices, and working conditions has revealed an unusually strong degree of consensus.

Taxation has been an important economic factor in recent years as governments have tried to balance the need for increased revenue with goals of social equality. In 1997 a radical change took place with the introduction of value-added tax (VAT) to replace 11 different indirect taxes . The immediate result was greatly improved tax revenue, which reduced the government's fiscal shortfall from the equivalent of 2.5 percent of GDP in 1996 to 0.3 percent in 1997. However, in the same year, the VAT forced prices up and led to inflation of 7.7 percent. The government responded by removing the VAT from 50 essential food items, with the result that consumer prices fell by 1.3 percent in 1998, benefiting the basic household expenditure of poorer families. The basic income tax is payable on earnings greater than BDS$625 per month, with higher rates for larger incomes.

The Barbadian government is active in encouraging foreign investment in tourism, manufacturing, and the informatics (data processing) sector. It offers a range of financial incentives to prospective investors, including tax concessions, and has made considerable efforts to attract offshore financial businesses, such as foreign banks and insurance companies, by introducing the legal and fiscal regulation required. So far, moves to privatize state assets such as the Barbados National Bank, the Caribbean Broadcasting Company, and the Barbados National Oil Company have been planned but not implemented.

INFRASTRUCTURE, POWER, AND COMMUNICATIONS

Barbados has a network of roads totaling 1,578 kilometers (980 miles), with only a few miles remaining un-paved. There are no railways. The main commercial port is at Bridgetown, but there is also an important marina development at Port St. Charles, north of Speightstown. There is 1 international airport, which receives many daily flights from Europe, North America, and other Caribbean countries. The road infrastructure is generally good and has received substantial government investment over recent years, as have port and airport facilities and a modernized sewerage system on the south coast.

The island's energy needs are partly met by an on-shore field in St. Philip parish, which produced 850,000 barrels of crude petroleum in 1999, equivalent to half of annual local consumption. Energy production in 1998 was estimated at 672 million kilowatt-hours (kWh), in excess of consumption of 625 million kWh. Natural gas production has also increased, and most urban and suburban residents have access to a piped gas supply. A United States-owned company, Conoco, is engaged in offshore exploration for oil and gas reserves.

Communications in Barbados are generally good and the government is committed to liberalizing the telecommunications sector, currently dominated by the Cable & Wireless company, by the end of 2002. In 1997 it was estimated that there were 97,000 telephone lines in use, and cellular and Internet access are growing steadily. The government is also attempting to boost the data-processing and telemarketing sector by promoting Barbados as a regional communications center offering a sophisticated technological infrastructure as well as a highly literate workforce.

ECONOMIC SECTORS

The structure of the economy in Barbados today is unrecognizable from that of 50 years ago. Agriculture in 1946 accounted for 37.8 percent of GDP and 55 percent

Communications
Country Telephones a Telephones, Mobile/Cellular a Radio Stations b Radios a TV Stations a Televisions a Internet Service Providers c Internet Users c
Barbados 108,000 8,013 AM 2; FM 3; shortwave 0 237,000 1 76,000 19 6,000
United States 194 M 69.209 M (1998) AM 4,762; FM 5,542; shortwave 18 575 M 1,500 219 M 7,800 148 M
Jamaica 353,000 (1996) 54,640 (1996) AM 10; FM 13; shortwave 0 1.215M 7 460,000 21 60,000
St. Lucia 37,000 1,600 AM 2; FM 7; shortwave 0 111,000 3 32,000 15 5,000
a Data is for 1997 unless otherwise noted.
b Data is for 1998 unless otherwise noted.
c Data is for 2000 unless otherwise noted.
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [Online].

of foreign exchange earnings, while in 1998 it represented only 4 percent of GDP and only 2.9 percent of foreign exchange earnings. Sugar is still the island's main agricultural commodity, earning approximately US$34 million annually.

Industry has grown significantly over the same period, reaching 16 percent of GDP in 1998, although parts of this sector have declined since the recession of the late 1980s. The island's industry is divided between manufacturing for local consumption and export-oriented assembly work aimed at the North American market. In 1998, total manufactured exports, excluding the traditional products of refined sugar and rum, earned US$139 million.

The major contributor to the Barbadian economy is the service sector, which represented 80 percent of GDP in 1998. The sector includes government services, the tourism industry, and the 2 recently developed areas of financial services and informatics. Of these, tourism is the principal foreign exchange earner, and the Caribbean Development Bank (CBD) estimates that tourist expenditures in the island reached US$703 million in 1998.

The growth of services is counterbalanced by stagnation in manufacturing and the limited contribution made by agriculture. High costs probably account for problems in manufacturing. Both wages in the sector and necessary inputs are higher in Barbados than in other Caribbean countries, but the island's reputation for stability and high-quality service explain the growth in the newer sectors of the economy.

AGRICULTURE

In colonial times, the country's largely flat, fertile land, its large slave workforce, and a handful of large-scale, sometimes absentee, landowners, made Barbados the plantation economy par excellence. The sugar industry survived into the 20th century (and has continued into the 21st century), but it began to decline from the 1960s onwards as long-haul flights fueled the development of the tourism industry. By the recession of the late 1980s, the sugar sector was in serious trouble, and in 1992 the state sugar company in debt by some US$100 million. The IMF insisted on its dismantling as part of the structural adjustment program and a full restructuring , under the aegis of the British Booker-Tate company, took place. Despite plans for increased production of 75,000 tons annually, Barbados has since struggled to produce the 54,700 tons which the European Union (EU) agrees to import at preferential prices each year. In 1999, sugar production increased 10.8 percent on the previous year but was still only 53,200. Were it not for the EU quota and a smaller U.S. quota of 5,000 tons, the industry would probably collapse. As it is, high labor and input costs, droughts, and outdated technology have made its future uncertain, with production costs often higher than the price paid by the EU. Today the rum industry is forced to import half of its annual requirement of molasses. As the workforce in the sugar industry grows older and landowners increasingly look to capitalize on tourism or new housing developments, sugar is under threat.

Inadequate rainfall and lack of irrigation has prevented the development of other agricultural activity, although some vegetable farming takes place on a commercial scale. Apart from self-sufficiency in milk and poultry, the limited agricultural sector means that Barbados imports large amounts of basic foods, including wheat and meat. There is some fishing, aimed mostly at the tourist and local market. In all, some 5,000 people are employed in agriculture.

INDUSTRY

The manufacturing sector in Barbados has yet to recover from the recession of the late 1980s when bankruptcies occurred and almost one-third of the workforce lost their jobs. Today, approximately 10,000 Barbadians work in manufacturing. The electronics sector in particular was badly hit when the U.S. semi-conductor company, Intel, closed its factory in 1986. Leaving aside traditional manufacturing, such as sugar refining and rum distilling, Barbados's industrial activity is partly aimed at the local market which produces goods such as tinned food, drinks, and cigarettes. The export markets have been severely damaged by competition from cheaper Caribbean and Latin American competitors. But domestic manufacturing also faces serious potential problems, as trade liberalization means that the government can no longer protect national industries by imposing high tariffs on imported goods. Thus, Barbadian manufacturers must compete with those from other regional economies, whose wage costs and other overheads are usually much lower.

A construction boom, linked to tourism and residential development, has assisted the recovery of a large cement plant in the north of the island that was closed for some years and reopened in 1997. The other significant industrial employer is the petroleum sector, although the island's small oil refinery was closed in 1998 and refining moved to Trinidad and Tobago, where labor and other costs are cheaper.

SERVICES

Tourism is Barbados's crucial economic activity and has been since the 1960s. At least 10 percent of the working population (some 13,000 people) are employed in this sector, which offers a range of tourist accommodations from luxury hotels to modest self-catering establishments. After the recession years, tourism picked up again in the mid-1990s, only to face another slowdown in 1999. This drop was in part due to increasing competition from other Caribbean countries such as the Dominican Republic, and in part to a reduction in visits from cruise ships as they shifted to non-Caribbean routes or shorter routes such as the Bahamas. Cruise ship visitors totaled 445,821 in 1999, a reduction from 517,888 in 1997, but stay-over visitors rose to 517,869 in 1999, setting a new record. Overall, the country witnessed over US$700 million in tourism receipts in 1999.

The real problem for Barbados is that tourist facilities are too densely concentrated on the south coast, which is highly urbanized, while the Atlantic coast, with its rugged shoreline and large waves, is not suitable for beach tourism. There are few large brand-name hotels (the Barbados Hilton was closed for refurbishment in 2000) which makes marketing the island in the United States difficult. On the other hand, the absence of conglomerates and package tours results in a far greater trickle-down of tourist spending among the general population.

Informatics employed almost 1,700 workers in 1999, about the same number as the sugar industry. The island has been involved in data processing since the 1980s and now specializes in operations such as database management and insurance claims processing. Costs in Barbados are higher than elsewhere in the Caribbean (although still only half of costs in the United States), but the island offers strong advantages such as a literate English-speaking workforce and location in the same time zone as the eastern United States. Despite these factors, employment has fallen in recent years, reflecting increasing mobility on the part of foreign companies, which frequently relocate to lower-cost areas.

The financial services sector has also faced problems as licenses issued to new financial companies have slowed down since 1998. There are an estimated 47 offshore banks , as well as hundreds of other insurance and investment companies, all catering to overseas clients. Figures are hard to track, but it is estimated that these financial activities earned BDS$150 million in foreign earnings in 1995. In 1998, approximately 7,500 people were employed in the banking and insurance sector. The financial sector is also under threat of sanctions from the EU and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), both of which have expressed concerns about money laundering , tax evasion, and other financial improprieties in Caribbean offshore centers.

Retailing is an important economic activity, especially in Bridgetown where there are large department stores and supermarkets. In the countryside, most stores are small and family-run. Some 18,000 people work in the retail sector.

INTERNATIONAL TRADE

Barbados generally imports nearly 4 times more than it exports (US$800.3 million in imports as opposed to US$260 million in exports in 2000), creating a huge trade imbalance that is only partly offset by tourism revenues and other service sector income. According to the CDB,

Trade (expressed in billions of US$): Barbados
Exports Imports
1975 .107 .217
1980 .228 .527
1985 .354 .611
1990 .211 .704
1995 .236 .764
1998 .251 1.009
SOURCE: International Monetary Fund. International Financial Statistics Yearbook 1999.

the balance of payments was in deficit by BDS$76 million in 1999. This situation is sustainable only so long as tourism receipts remain stable, but the island faces real problems of dependency on imported foodstuffs and other basic items.

The main source of imports, according to CDB statistics in 1999, is the United States, which provided 40 percent of the total, followed by regional economies such as Trinidad & Tobago, and the United Kingdom. In terms of exports, Caribbean markets, particularly Jamaica and Venezuela, were the biggest, accounting for approximately 40 percent of the island's export trade. The United Kingdom is an important market for Barbadian sugar and rum.

MONEY

Regular economic growth and low inflation marked most of the 1990s for Barbados, but by the end of the decade there were anxieties over another possible recession. Consumption of imported goods was too high in relation to export earnings, and credit was too easily available to consumers; therefore, in 1999, the government raised interest rates in an attempt to restrain spending. The Barbadian dollar, which has long been pegged to the U.S. dollar at a rate of BDS$2.000:US$1, is probably overvalued, but it would be extremely difficult for any government to devalue the currency, as so many basic items are imported from the United States.

There is a small local securities exchange, the Securities Exchange of Barbados, founded in 1991, which had a market capitalization of US$2 billion at the end of 1999. Most larger local companies are listed for share trading, together with several companies from Trinidad & Tobago and Jamaica.

POVERTY AND WEALTH

In terms of poverty eradication, Barbados is a success story, with high per capita GDP, a good level of social

Exchange rates: Barbados
Barbadian dollars (BDS$) per US$1
2001 2.000
2000 2.000
1999 2.000
1998 2.000
1997 2.000
1996 2.000
Note: Fixed rate pegged to the US dollar.
SOURCE: CIA World Factbook 2001 [ONLINE].

service provision, and positive health indicators. The United Nations Human Development Index places it third among all non-Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries for its development statistics, ahead of Singapore and other economic successes. Although many Barbadians continue to live in small wooden houses, access to clean water, electricity, and medical facilities is universal. Public education is of a good standard, as are health services. The political culture of consensus has ensured that all Barbadian governments have aimed to eradicate poverty and bring about a degree of wealth redistribution.

As a result of these policies, Barbados has a large, literate, and financially comfortable middle class, many of whom are employed in the public sector. No recent statistics are available regarding percentage share of household income, but it is certain that Barbados does not suffer the same extremes of social division as other Caribbean countries.

However, there remains a wealthy minority, part of which is directly descended from the white plantation owners of the colonial period. Known still as the "plantocracy," these families have extensive interests in retailing, tourism, and the financial sector. Since the country's independence this small elite has retained its economic influence, although its political power has waned, and it remains distanced from the majority black population.

GDP per Capita (US$)
Country 1975 1980 1985 1990 1998
Barbados 5,497 6,764 6,373 7,340 7,894
United States 19,364 21,529 23,200 25,363 29,683
Jamaica 1,819 1,458 1,353 1,651 1,559
St. Lucia N/A 2,076 2,150 3,542 3,907
SOURCE: United Nations. Human Development Report 2000; Trends in human development and per capita income.

WORKING CONDITIONS

Working conditions in Barbados are generally good for a workforce estimated at 136,300 in 1998, and there is a strong tradition of consultation between employers and trade unions. Even the small remaining rural work-force is well organized and is capable of negotiating acceptable improvements in wages and conditions. The public sector is particularly well represented and governments are obliged to hold regular consultations with the unions that represent teachers and other civil servants. Pay and working conditions in the service industries are also above average for the region. High levels of literacy are the norm. Legislation is in place against unlawful dismissal and other employer malpractice in Barbados and is mostly observed. All Barbadian workers are part of a National Insurance system that provides sick pay and small retirement pensions.

There is little or no child labor in Barbados, and women are generally offered equal employment opportunities at all levels. A small informal sector exists, mostly catering to tourists, and some women are employed as informal sector beach vendors. The island's remaining problem in social terms is unemployment, which in 1999 affected almost 10 percent of the workforce, a fall from 12.3 percent the previous year.

With relatively high wage levels and regulated employment conditions, Barbadians enjoy a higher standard of living and quality of life than many other Caribbean people. However, in a globalized economy, these advantages are also a disincentive to foreign investors in search of the cheapest possible labor costs.

COUNTRY HISTORY AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

1627. The first English colonial settlement is established, and Barbados remains a British colony until 1966.

1639. First meeting of the Barbados House of Assembly. This body is the third oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere.

1650s. The sugar industry enjoys its most productive and profitable period.

1834. Slavery is abolished in the British empire.

1930s. Widespread unrest and rioting erupts in protest against poor working conditions and inadequate pay and prompts social reforms.

1938. The Barbados Labor Party is founded by Sir Grantley Adams.

1951. The British government grants Barbados full internal autonomy under the British Crown and the Barbados Labor Party is elected to government, with Sir Grantley Adams as prime minister.

1966. On November 20, Barbados becomes a fully independent state within the British Commonwealth.

1989-1992. Recession forces the government to adopt an IMF-approved austerity program.

1999. The Barbados Labor Party wins a second consecutive term in office by a large majority.

FUTURE TRENDS

The continuing success story of Barbados, based on social fairness and democratic consultation, will largely depend on its ability to fend off competition in the tourism and service sectors. Agriculture will almost certainly continue to decline, while sugar production will survive only as long as the EU continues to subsidize it with preferential quotas and prices. Manufacturing, while strong in terms of local markets, cannot compete as a low-wage offshore activity. As a result, tourism and the new informatics industries will play an increasingly crucial role in generating foreign currency. But as recent experience has shown, both are highly competitive in a regional and global context, and Barbados will face difficulties in increasing its market share without considerable investment in advertising and training.

The greatest cause for concern is the island's huge trade deficit and continuing reliance on imports for everyday food items. Should another recession occur, Barbados would be extremely vulnerable to balance of payments problems and increased indebtedness, factors that might jeopardize the considerable strides made in the country's development since the 1970s.

DEPENDENCIES

Barbados has no territories or colonies.

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Caribbean Development Bank. Annual Report 1999. Barbados, 2000.

Economist Intelligence Unit. Country Profile: Bermuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Netherlands Antilles, Aruba, Turks & Caicos Islands, Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands. London: Economist Intelligence Unit, 2001.

Government of Barbados Information Network (GOBINET). <http://barbados.gov.bb>. Accessed September 2001.

International Monetary Fund. <http://www.imf.org/external/np>.

U.S. Central Intelligence Agency. World Factbook 2001. <http://www.odci.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html>. Accessed August 2001.

U.S. Department of State. Background Notes: Barbados, August 2000. <http://www.state.gov/www/background_notes/barbados_0008_bgn.html>. Accessed September 2001.

U.S. Department of State. FY 2001 Country Commercial Guide: Barbados. <http://www.state.gov/www/about_state/business/com_guides/2001/wha/index.html>. Accessed September 2001.

James Ferguson

CAPITAL:

Bridgetown.

MONETARY UNIT:

Barbados dollar (BDS$). One dollar equals 100 cents. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, 25 and 50 cents and 1 dollar, and notes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollars. The Barbados dollar is pegged to the U.S. dollar at the rate of BDS$1:US$0.49771, or US$1:BDS$2.011.

CHIEF EXPORTS:

Sugar and molasses; rum; other food and beverages; chemicals; electrical components; and clothing.

CHIEF IMPORTS:

Consumer goods, machinery, foodstuffs, construction materials, chemicals, fuel, and electrical components.

GROSS DOMESTIC PRODUCT:

US$4 billion (purchasing power parity, 2000 est.).

BALANCE OF TRADE:

Exports: US$260 million (2000 est.). Imports: US$800.3 million (2000 est.).

views updated

Barbados

PROFILE
PEOPLE
HISTORY
GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS
ECONOMY
FOREIGN RELATIONS
U.S.-BARBADIAN RELATIONS
TRAVEL

Compiled from the December 2007 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:

Barbados

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 431 sq. km. (166 sq. mi.); about three times the size of Washington, DC.

Cities: Capital—Bridgetown.

Terrain: Generally flat, hilly in the interior.

Climate: Tropical.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Barbadian(s); informally “Bajan(s).”

Population: (2006 estimate) 279,912.

Annual population growth rate: (2005) 0.3%.

Ethnic groups: Predominantly of African descent 90%, White 4%, Asian or mixed 6%.

Religions: Protestant 67% (Anglican 40%, Pentecostal 8%, Methodist 7%, other 12%), Roman Catholic 4%, none 17%, other 12%.

Languages: English.

Education: (2005) Adult literacy—99.7%.

Health: (2005) Infant mortality rate—11.0/1,000. Life expectancy—men 70.8 years; women 74.8 years.

Work force: (2006) 142,000 (tourism, government, manufacturing, construction, mining, agriculture, fishing).

Unemployment: (2006) 7.6%.

Government

Type: Parliamentary democracy; independent sovereign state within the Commonwealth.

Independence: November 30, 1966.

Constitution: 1966.

Government branches: Executive—governor general (representing Queen Elizabeth II, head of state), prime minister (head of government), cabinet. Legislative—bicameral Parliament. Judicial—magistrate's courts, Supreme Court (High Court and Court of Appeals), Caribbean Court of Justice in Trinidad and Tobago.

Political subdivisions: Eleven parishes and the city of Bridgetown.

Political parties: Barbados Labour Party (BLP, incumbent), Democratic Labour Party (DLP), People's Empowerment Party (PEP).

Suffrage: Universal at 18.

Economy

GDP: (2006) $2.976 billion.

GDP growth rate: (2006) 3.8%.

Per capita GDP: (2006 est.) $17,300.

Inflation: (2006) 7.6%.

Natural resources: Petroleum, fish, quarrying, natural gas.

Agriculture: Sugar accounts for less than 1% of GDP and 80% of arable land.

Manufacturing and construction: Food, beverages, infrastructure, electronic components, textiles, paper, chemicals.

Services: Tourism, banking and other financial services, and data processing.

Trade: (2005) Exports—$359 million (merchandise) and $1.41 billion (commercial services). Major markets—United States (13.4%), European Union (12.4%), Trinidad and Tobago (10.8%), St. Lucia (6.1%), and Jamaica (5%). Imports—$1.6 billion (merchandise) and $636 million (commercial services). Major suppliers—United States (35.9%), Trinidad and Tobago (21.2%), European Union (13.3%), Japan (7.6%), and Canada (3.4%).

Exchange rate: BDS$2 = U.S. $1.

PEOPLE

About 90% of Barbados’ population is of African descent, 4% European descent, and 6% Asian or mixed. About 40% of Barbadians are Anglican, and the rest mostly Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, and Moravian. There also are small Jewish and Muslim communities. Barbados’ population growth rate has been very low, less than 1% since the 1960s, largely due to family planning efforts and a high emigration rate.

HISTORY

British sailors who landed on Barbados in the 1620s at the site of presentday Holetown on the Caribbean coast found the island uninhabited. As elsewhere in the eastern Caribbean, Arawak Indians may have been annihilated by invading Caribs, who are believed to have subsequently abandoned the island.

From the arrival of the first British settlers in 1627-28 until independence in 1966, Barbados was a self-funding colony under uninterrupted British rule. Nevertheless, Barbados always enjoyed a large measure of local autonomy. Its House of Assembly, which began meeting in 1639, is the third-oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere, preceded only by Bermuda's legislature and the Virginia House of Burgesses.

As the sugar industry developed into the main commercial enterprise, Barbados was divided into large plantation estates, which replaced the small holdings of the early British settlers. Some of the displaced farmers relocated to British colonies in North America. To work the plantations, slaves were brought from Africa; the slave trade ceased a few years before the abolition of slavery throughout the British empire in 1834.

Plantation owners and merchants of British descent dominated local politics. It was not until the 1930s that the descendants of emancipated slaves began a movement for political rights. One of the leaders of this movement, Sir Grantley Adams, founded the Barbados Labour Party in 1938. Progress toward more democratic government for Barbados was made in 1951, when the first general election under universal adult suffrage occurred. This was followed by steps toward increased self-government, and in 1961, Barbados achieved the status of self-governing autonomy.

From 1958 to 1962, Barbados was one of 10 members of the West Indies Federation, and Sir Grantley Adams served as its first and only prime minister. When the federation was terminated, Barbados reverted to its former status as a self-governing colony. Following several attempts to form another federation composed of Barbados and the Leeward and Windward Islands, Barbados negotiated its own independence at a constitutional conference with the United Kingdom in June 1966. After years of peaceful and democratic progress, Barbados became an independent state within the British Commonwealth on November 30, 1966.

Under its constitution, Barbados is a parliamentary democracy modeled on the British system. The governor general represents the monarch. Control of the government rests with the cabinet, headed by the prime minister and responsible to the Parliament.

The bicameral Parliament consists of the House of Assembly and Senate. The 30 members of the House are elected by universal suffrage to 5-year terms. Elections may be called at any time the government wishes to seek a new mandate or if the government suffers a vote of no-confidence in Parliament. The Senate's 21 members are appointed by the governor general—12 with the advice of the prime minister, two with the advice of the leader of the opposition, and seven at the governor general's discretion to represent segments of the community.

Barbados has an independent judiciary composed of magistrate courts, which are statutorily authorized, and a Supreme Court, which is constitutionally mandated. The Supreme Court consists of the high court and the court of appeals, each with four judges. The Chief Justice serves on both the high court and the court of appeals. The court of last resort is the Caribbean Court of Justice. The island is divided into 11 parishes and the city of Bridgetown for administrative purposes. There is no local government.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The two main political parties—the Barbados Labour Party (BLP), the Democratic Labour Party (DLP)—are both moderate and have no major ideological differences; electoral contests and political disputes often have personal overtones. The major political problems facing Barbados today are in promoting economic growth: creating jobs, encouraging agricultural diversification, attracting foreign investment, and promoting tourism.

The ruling BLP was decisively returned to power in May 2003 elections, winning 23 seats in the Parliament with the DLP gaining seven seats. The Prime Minister, Owen Arthur, who also serves as Minister of Finance, has given a high priority to economic development and diversification. The main opposition party, the DLP, is led by David Thompson, a Member of Parliament.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 2/1/2008

Governor General: Clifford HUSBANDS, Sir

Prime Minister: Owen ARTHUR

Dep. Prime Min.: Mia MOTTLEY

Special Envoy to the Prime Min. on Technology, Investment, & Trade: Phillip GODDARD

Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development: Erskine GRIFFITH

Min. of the Civil Service:

Min. of Commerce, Consumer Affairs, & Business Development: Lynette EASTMOND

Min. of Defense & Security: Owen ARTHUR

Min. of Economic Affairs & Development: Mia MOTTLEY

Min. of Education, Youth Affairs, & Sports: Anthony WOOD

Min. of Energy & Environment: Elizabeth THOMPSON

Min. of Finance: Owen ARTHUR

Min. of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade: Billie MILLER

Min. of Health: Jerome WALCOTT, Dr.

Min. of Home Affairs: Dale MARSHALL

Min. of Housing & Lands: Reginald FARLEY

Min. of Information: Owen ARTHUR

Min. of Labor & Civil Service: Rawle EASTMOND

Min. of Public Works: Gline CLARKE

Min. of Social Transformation: Trevor PRESCOD

Min. of Tourism & International Transport: Noel Anderson LYNCH

Min. of State for Education: Cynthia FORDE

Min. of State for Finance: Clyde MASCOLL

Min. of State for Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade: Kerrie SYMMONDS

Min. of State in the Prime Min.'s Office: Jospeh ATHERLEY, Rev.

Attorney General: Dale MARSHALL

Governor, Central Bank: Marion WILLIAMS

Ambassador to the US: Michael KING

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Christopher HACKETT

Barbados maintains an embassy in the United States at 2144 Wyoming Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008 (tel. 202-939-9200), a consulate general in New York City at 800 2nd Avenue, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10017 (tel. 212-867-8435), and a consulate general in Miami at 150 Alhambra Circle, Suite 1270, Coral Gables, FL 33134 (tel. 305-442-1994).

ECONOMY

Since independence, Barbados has transformed itself from a low-income economy dependent upon sugar production into an upper-middle-income economy based on tourism. Barbados is now one of the most prosperous countries in the western hemisphere outside of the United States and Canada. The economy went into a deep recession in 1990 after 3 years of steady decline brought on by fundamental macroeconomic imbalances. After a painful readjustment process, the economy began to grow again in 1993. Growth rates averaged between 3%-5% since then until 2001, when the economy contracted 2.8% in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks and the global drop-off in tourism. Growth picked up again in 2004 and 2005, and the economy grew by 3.8% in 2006. Tourism drives the economy in Barbados, but offshore banking and financial services have become an increasingly important source of foreign exchange and economic growth. The sugar industry,

once dominant, now makes up less than 1% of GDP and employs only around 500 people. The labor force totaled 142,000 persons at the end of 2006. The average rate of unemployment during the last quarter of 2006 was estimated at 7.6%. The current account deficit expanded to 12.5% of GDP, and government debt rose above 80% of GDP in 2006. Barbados hosted the final matches of the Cricket World Cup in 2007, and much of the country's investment during 2006 and the beginning of 2007 was directed toward accommodating the expected influx of visitors. As a result of these preparations, growth was registered in all sectors, especially transportation, communications, construction, and utilities. The government and private sector are both working to prepare the country for the Caribbean Community (CARI-COM) Single Market and Economy (CSME)—a European Union-style single market.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

As a small nation, the primary thrust of Barbados’ diplomatic activity has been within international organizations. The island is a member of the Commonwealth and participates in its activities. Barbados was admitted to the United Nations in December 1966. Barbados joined the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1967.

On July 4, 1973, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Jamaica signed a treaty in Trinidad to found the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM). In May 1974, most of the remaining English-speaking Caribbean states joined CARICOM, which now has 15 members. Barbados also is a member of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), established in 1970, with headquarters in Bridgetown. The Eastern Caribbean's Regional Security System (RSS), which associates Barbados with six other island nations, also is headquartered in Barbados. In July 1994, Barbados joined the newly established Association of Caribbean States (ACS).

Barbados has diplomatic missions headed by resident ambassadors or high commissioners in Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Venezuela, and at the European Union (Brussels) and the UN. It also has resident consuls general in Toronto, Miami, and New York City. Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Venezuela have ambassadors or high commissioners resident in Barbados.

U.S.-BARBADIAN RELATIONS

In 1751, George Washington visited Barbados as a young man, making what is believed to have been his only trip abroad. The U.S. Government has been represented on Barbados since 1823. From 1956 to 1978, the United States operated a naval facility in Barbados.

The United States and Barbados have had friendly bilateral relations since Barbados’ independence in 1966. The United States has supported the government's efforts to expand the country's economic base and to provide a higher standard of living for its citizens. Barbados is a beneficiary of the U.S. Caribbean Basin Initiative. U.S. assistance is channeled primarily through multilateral agencies such as the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank, as well as the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) office in Bridgetown. In May 1997, Prime Minister Owen Arthur hosted President Clinton and 14 other Caribbean leaders during the first-ever U.S.-regional summit in Bridgetown, Barbados. The summit strengthened the basis for regional cooperation on justice and counter narcotics issues, finance and development, and trade. Barbados receives counternarcotics assistance and is eligible to benefit from the U.S. military's exercise-related and humanitarian assistance construction program. Barbados and U.S. authorities cooperate closely in the fight against narcotics trafficking and other forms of transnational crime. In 1996, the United States and Barbados signed a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) and an updated extradition treaty covering all common offenses, including conspiracy and organized crime. A maritime law enforcement agreement was signed in 1997. A popular tourist destination, Barbados had around 570,000 tourists in 2006, mainly cruise ship visitors. The majority of tourists are from the U.K., Germany, the Caribbean, and the United States. An estimated 3,000 Americans reside in the country.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

Last Updated: 2/19/2008

BRIDGETOWN (E) Wildey Business Park, Wildey, St. Michael BB 14006, APO/FPO APO AA 34055, 246-436-4950, Fax 246-429-5246, Workweek: Mon-Fri: 8.00–4.30, Website: http://bridgetown.usembassy.gov.

DCM OMS:Hillaire Campbell
AMB OMS:Honora L. Myers
ECO:Anthony Eterno
FM:Frank Mashuda
HRO:Peggy Laurance (Residence In Ft Lauderdale)
MGT:Philip A. Dubois
AMB:Mary M. Ourisman
CG:Clyde I. Howard
DCM:O.P. Garza (Tdy)
PAO:John C. Roberts
GSO:Paul A. Kalinowski
RSO:Robert W. Starnes
AFSA:Arend Zwartjes
AID:James Goggin
CLO:Kimberly Ent/Shannon Baguio
DAO:Ltc. Edgar Hernandez (Res. Caracas)
DEA:Charles Graham
EEO:Ricardo Cabrera
FAA:Dawn Flanagan (Res. Washington)
FMO:Karin Sullivan
ICASS:Chair Cdr. P. Kofi Aboagye
IMO:Ricardo Cabrera
IRS:Cheryl Kast
ISO:Norman G B Ellasos
ISSO:Ricardo Cabrera
LAB:John C. Aller
LEGATT:Samuel Bryant, Jr..
MLO LCDR:Cdr. P. Kofi Aboagye
NAS:John C. Roberts
POL:Ian Campbell
State ICASS:Cdr. P. Kofi Aboagye

The U.S. Embassy in Barbados is located in the Wildey Business Park, Wildey, St. Michael (tel: 246-436-4950; fax: 246-429-5246).

Other Contact Information

U.S. Department of Commerce
International Trade
Administration
Office of Latin America
and the Caribbean

14th & Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20230
Tel: 202-482-1658, 800-USA-Trade
Fax: 202-482-0464

Caribbean/Latin
American Action

1818 N Street, NW
Suite 310
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: 202-466-7464
Fax: 202-822-0075

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

February 21, 2007

Country Description: Barbados is an independent Caribbean island nation with a developed economy. The capital is Bridgetown. Facilities for tourism are widely available. The U.S. Embassy in Barbados has consular responsibility over Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as the British dependent territories of Anguilla, British Virgin Islands and Montserrat, and the French islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Barthelemy and St. Martin.

Entry Requirements: U.S. citizens must enter Barbados using a valid U.S. passport. No visa is needed to enter Barbados for stays up to 28 days. There is a departure tax for travelers over the age of twelve.

For further information, travelers may contact the Embassy of Barbados, 2144 Wyoming Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 939-9200, fax (202) 332-7467, Internet e-mail: [email protected]; or the consulates of Barbados in Los Angeles, Miami or New York.

Safety and Security: For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site where the current Worldwide Caution Travel Alert, Travel Warnings and Travel Alerts can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444.

Crime: Crime in Barbados is characterized by petty theft and street crime. Incidents of violent crime, including rape, occur. Visitors should be especially vigilant on the beaches at night. Visitors should try to secure valuables in a hotel safe and take care to always lock and secure hotel room doors and windows.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Medical care is generally good, but medical transport can take hours to respond and ambulance attendants are prohibited from applying lifesaving techniques during transport. Minor problems requiring a visit to the emergency room can involve a wait of several hours; private clinics and physicians offer speedier service. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars.

Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services, and U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Barbados is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Driving in Barbados is on the left-hand side of the road. Taxis and buses are generally safe. Buses and vans and small buses are often crowded and tend to travel at high rates of speed. Night driving should be done with caution because of narrow roads with no shoulders and pedestrian/bicycle traffic. For specific information concerning Barbados driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Barbados Tourism Authority at (212) 986-6516, http://www.barbados.org.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Barbados, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Barbados’ Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's internet website at http://www.faa.gov.

Special Circumstances: All Caribbean countries can be affected by hurricanes. The hurricane season normally runs from June to the end of November, but there have been hurricanes in December in recent years. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offences. Persons violating Barbados’ laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Barbados are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Registration and Embassy Locations: Americans living or traveling in Barbados are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Barbados. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency.

The U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown in located in the Wildey Business Park in suburban Wildey, south and east of downtown Bridgetown. The main number for the Consular Section is (246) 431-0225; after hours, the Embassy duty officer can be reached by calling (246) 436-4950. The website for Embassy Bridgetown is http://bridgetown.usembassy.gov.

International Adoption

March 2006

The information in this section has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel. Prospective adoptive parents are advised to fully research any adoption agency or facilitator they plan to use for adoption services.

Please Note: Only citizens of countries with which Barbados has diplomatic or consular relations may adopt Barbadian children. The United States has diplomatic relations with Barbados.

Patterns of Immigration: Please review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

Adoption Authority: The adoption agency for all of Barbados is the Child Care Board, located at: The Fred Edghill Building, Cheapside, Fonta-belle, Barbados. The phone number is 1 (246) 426-2577. There are no private adoption agencies operating in Barbados.

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: Both married and single people may adopt. Prospective adoptive parents who are already related to the child they plan to adopt must be at least 18 years old. Otherwise, at least one prospective adoptive parent must be 25 years old and at least 18 years older than the child.

Residency Requirements: The adoption of a Barbadian child can take place in Barbados or in the applicants’ country of residence. Applicants wishing to adopt a child in Barbados will be required to reside in the island for a period of at least 18 months. If applicants wish the adoption to take place in their country of residence, the applicants are required to come to Barbados for at least a few weeks in order to receive the child into their care and must attend the High Court hearing for the license to take the child out of Barbados for the purpose of adoption.

Time Frame: It will typically take non-Barbadians, including U.S. citizens, between six months and a year to adopt a Barbadian child, but it can take longer due to sometimes-lengthy Barbadian court procedures.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: Private agencies are not allowed to provide adoption services. All adoptions must go through the Child Care Board.

Adoption Fees: Average adoption attorney fees in Barbados are approximately U.S. $3000, which includes court fees. However, fees may vary depending on the attorney. It is necessary for the applicants to use an attorney in Barbados who will apply for the license on their behalf. There are no fees for filing adoption paperwork with the Child Care Board.

Adoption Procedures: The laws that govern adoptions in Barbados are the Child Care Act and the Adoption Act. The Child Care Board administers these laws. Upon being notified of a prospective parent's intent to adopt, the Child Care Board will contract a social welfare agency abroad to do a home study. The home study conducted for U.S. immigration procedures (form I-600A) is acceptable. Upon completion of the home study, the adoptive parents should submit it to the Child Care Board for review. After the Child Care Board approves the home study, the Child Care Board will identify a child based on the adoptive parents’ requests. The adoptive parents (using an attorney) will then need to obtain an order from a Barbadian court authorizing the care and custody of the minor. The adoptive parents are required to come to Barbados to attend the High Court hearing for the license and to receive the child into their care.

Required Documents: A completed home study and supporting documents:

  • Birth certificate of each prospective adoptive parent;
  • Marriage certificate and divorce documents (if applicable);
  • Medical report of each prospective adoptive parent, to be conducted in the parent's country of residence;
  • Police reference;
  • Three (3) personal references known for a period of at least five (5) years and not family members;
  • Statement of applicant(s) income.

If the adoption is completed in Barbados, the adoptive parents should apply to the Office of the Registrar for a new birth certificate. If the adoption is to take place in the adoptive parents’ country of residence, the child must have a passport issued by Barbados Immigration in order to apply for a an immigrant visa.

Embassy of Barbados
2144 Wyoming Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Telephone: (202) 939-9200
Fax: (202) 332-7467

There are also consulates of Barbados in Los Angeles, Miami, and New York.

U.S. Immigration Requirements: Prospective adopting parents are strongly encouraged to consult USCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adoptive Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at http://travel.state.gov/family.

U.S. Embassy Bridgetown
Consular Section
The ALICO Building
Cheapside Bridgetown, Barbados
Telephone: (246) 431-0225
Fax: (246) 431-0179
Email: [email protected]
http://bridgetown.usembassy.gov

Additional Information: Specific questions about adoption in Barbados may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown. General questions regarding intercountry adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.

views updated

Barbados

Compiled from the November 2006 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Barbados

PROFILE

PEOPLE

HISTORY

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

ECONOMY

FOREIGN RELATIONS

U.S.-BARBADIAN RELATIONS

TRAVEL

PROFILE

Geography

Area: 431 sq. km. (166 sq. mi.); about three times the size of Washington, DC.

Cities: Capital — Bridgetown.

Terrain: Generally flat, hilly in the interior.

Climate: Tropical.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective — Barbadian(s); informally “Bajan(s).”

Population: (July 2006 estimate) 279,912.

Avg. annual growth rate: (2006 estimate) 0.37%.

Ethnic groups: Predominantly of African descent 90%, White 4%, Asian or mixed 6%.

Religions: Protestant 67% (Anglican 40%, Pentecostal 8%, Methodist 7%, other 12%), Roman Catholic 4%, none 17%, other 12%.

Language: English.

Education: Attendance —primary school 100%, secondary school 93%. Adult literacy —99.7%.

Health: Infant mortality rate (2006 estimate)—11.77/1,000. Life expectancy —70.9 yrs. men; 74.82 yrs. women (2006 est.).

Work force: (2004, 146,300) tourism, government, manufacturing, construction, mining, agriculture, fishing.

Unemployment: (1st quarter 2006) 8.1%.

Government

Type: Parliamentary democracy; independent sovereign state within the Commonwealth.

Independence: November 30, 1966.

Constitution: 1966.

Government branches: Executive —governor general (representing Queen Elizabeth II, head of state), prime minister (head of government), cabinet. Legislative —bicameral Parliament. Judicial —magistrate’s courts, Supreme Court (High Court and Court of Appeals), Privy Council in London.

Political subdivisions: Eleven parishes and the city of Bridgetown.

Political parties: Barbados Labor Party (BLP, incumbent), Democratic Labor Party (DLP), National Democratic Party (NDP).

Suffrage: Universal at 18.

Economy

GDP: (2005 est)$2.964 billion (official exchange rate); $4,745 billion (purchasing power parity).

GDP growth rate: (2005) 4.1%.

Per capita GDP: (2005 est.) $17,000.

Average inflation rate: (first half of 2005) 2.4%.

Natural resources: Petroleum, Fish, quarrying, natural gas.

Agriculture: (3.7% of GDP) Sugar accounts for approximately 1% of GDP and 80% of arable land.

Industry: Manufacturing and construction (13.7% of GDP)—food, beverages, electronic components, textiles, paper, chemicals.

Services: (62% of GDP) Tourism, banking and other financial services, data processing.

Trade: (2005) Exports —$211 million; or 359 million including re-exports. Major markets U.S. 12.8%, Trinidad and Tobago 10.8%, U.K. 8.7%, St. Lucia 6.1%, and Jamaica 5.7% (2005, including re-exports). Imports —$1,604 billion Major suppliers —U.S. 36.5%, Trinidad and Tobago 22.0%, U.K. 5.51%, Japan 5.15%, Canada 3.5 (2005).

Exchange rate: Barbados dollars (BDS) 2=U.S.$1.

PEOPLE

About 90% of Barbados’ population is of African descent, 4% European descent, and 6% Asian or mixed. About 40% of Barbadians are Anglican, and the rest mostly Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, and Moravian. There also are small Jewish and Muslim communities. Barbados’ population growth rate has been very low, less than 1% since the 1960s, largely due to family planning efforts and a high emigration rate.

HISTORY

British sailors who landed on Barbados in the 1620s at the site of present-day Holetown on the Caribbean coast found the island uninhabited. As elsewhere in the eastern Caribbean, Arawak Indians may have been annihilated by invading Caribs, who are believed to have subsequently abandoned the island.

From the arrival of the first British settlers in 1627-28 until independence in 1966, Barbados was a self-funding colony under uninterrupted British rule. Nevertheless, Barbados always enjoyed a large measure of local autonomy. Its House of Assembly, which began meeting in 1639, is the third-oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere, preceded only by Bermuda’s legislature and the Virginia House of Burgesses.

As the sugar industry developed into the main commercial enterprise, Barbados was divided into large plantation estates, which replaced the small holdings of the early British settlers. Some of the displaced farmers relocated to British colonies in North America. To work the plantations, slaves were brought from Africa; the slave trade ceased a few years before the abolition of slavery throughout the British empire in 1834.

Plantation owners and merchants of British descent dominated local politics. It was not until the 1930s that the descendants of emancipated slaves began a movement for political rights. One of the leaders of this movement, Sir Grantley Adams, founded the Barbados Labor Party in 1938. Progress toward more democratic government for Barbados was made in 1951, when the first general election under universal adult suffrage occurred. This was followed by steps toward increased self-government, and in 1961, Barbados achieved the status of self-governing autonomy.

From 1958 to 1962, Barbados was one of 10 members of the West Indies Federation, and Sir Grantley Adams served as its first and only prime minister. When the federation was terminated, Barbados reverted to its former status as a self-governing colony. Following several attempts to form another federation composed of Barbados and the Leeward and Windward Islands, Barbados negotiated its own independence at a constitutional conference with the United Kingdom in June 1966. After years of peaceful and democratic progress, Barbados became an independent state within the British Commonwealth on November 30, 1966.

Under its constitution, Barbados is a parliamentary democracy modeled on the British system. The governor general represents the monarch. Control of the government rests with the cabinet, headed by the prime minister and responsible to the Parliament.

The bicameral Parliament consists of the House of Assembly and Senate. The 30 members of the House are elected by universal suffrage to 5-year terms. Elections may be called at any time the government wishes to seek a new mandate or if the government suffers a vote of no-confidence in Parliament, with a 5-year maximum duration for Parliament. The Senate’s 21 members are appointed by the governor general —12 with the advice of the prime minister, two with the advice of the leader of the opposition, and seven at the governor general’s discretion to represent segments of the community.

Barbados has an independent judiciary composed of magistrate courts, which are statutorily authorized, and a Supreme Court, which is constitutionally mandated. The Supreme Court consists of the high court and the court of appeals, each with four judges. The Chief Justice serves on both the high court and the court of appeals. The court of last resort is the Caribbean Court of Justice. The island is divided into 11 parishes and the city of Bridgetown for administrative purposes. There is no local government.

GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The three political parties—the Barbados Labor Party (BLP), the Democratic Labor Party (DLP), and the semi-defunct National Democratic Party (NDP)—are all moderate and have no major ideological differences; electoral contests and political disputes often have personal overtones. The major political problems facing Barbados today are in promoting economic growth: creating jobs, encouraging agricultural diversification, attracting foreign investment, and promoting tourism.

The ruling BLP was decisively returned to power in May 2003 elections, winning 23 seats in the Parliament with the DLP gaining seven seats. The Prime Minister, Owen Arthur, who also serves as Minister of Finance, has given a high priority to economic development and diversification. The main opposition party, the DLP, is led by David Thompson, a Member of Parliament.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 2/23/2006

Governor General: Clifford HUSBANDS, Sir

Prime Minister: Owen ARTHUR

Dep. Prime Min.: Mia MOTTLEY

Special Envoy to the Prime Min. on Technology, Investment, & Trade: Phillip GODDARD

Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development: Erskine GRIFFITH

Min. of the Civil Service:

Min. of Commerce, Consumer Affairs, & Business Development: Lynette EASTMOND

Min. of Defense & Security: Owen ARTHUR

Min. of Economic Affairs & Development: Mia MOTTLEY

Min. of Education, Youth Affairs, & Sports: Anthony WOOD

Min. of Energy & Environment: Elizabeth THOMPSON

Min. of Finance: Owen ARTHUR

Min. of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade: Billie MILLER

Min. of Health: Jerome WALCOTT, Dr.

Min. of Home Affairs: Dale MARSHALL

Min. of Housing & Lands: Reginald FARLEY

Min. of Information: Owen ARTHUR

Min. of Labor & Civil Service: Rawle EASTMOND

Min. of Public Works: Gline CLARKE

Min. of Social Transformation: Trevor PRESCOD

Min. of Tourism & International Transport: Noel Anderson LYNCH

Min. of State for Education: Cynthia FORDE

Min. of State for Finance: Clyde MASCOLL

Min. of State for Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade: Kerrie SYMMONDS

Min. of State in the Prime Min.’s Office: Jospeh ATHERLEY, Rev.

Attorney General: Dale MARSHALL

Governor, Central Bank: Marion WILLIAMS

Ambassador to the US: Michael KING

Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Christopher HACKETT

Barbados maintains an embassy in the United States at 2144 Wyoming Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C. 20008 (tel. 202-939-9200), a consulate general in New York City at 800 2nd Avenue, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10017 (tel. 212-867-8435), and a consulate general in Miami at 150 Alhambra Circle, Suite 1270, Coral Gables, FL 33134 (tel. 305-442-1994).

ECONOMY

Since independence, Barbados has transformed itself from a low-income economy dependent upon sugar production into an upper-middle-income economy based on tourism. Barbados is now one of the most prosperous countries in the western hemisphere outside of the U.S. and Canada. The economy went into a deep recession in 1990 after 3 years of steady decline brought on by fundamental macroeconomic imbalances. After a painful readjustment process, the economy began to grow again in 1993. Growth rates averaged between 3%-5% since then until 2001, when the economy contracted 2.8% in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks and the global drop-off in tourism. Growth picked up again in 2003, and the economy grew by 3.4% in 2004, and by 4.1% in 2005.

Tourism drives the economy in Barbados, but offshore banking and financial services have become an increasingly important source of foreign exchange and economic growth. The sugar industry, once dominant, now makes up approximately 1% of GDP and employs only around 500 people. The labor force totaled 145,800 persons at the end of 2005. The average rate of unemployment for the first quarter of 2006 was estimated at 8.1%.

Barbados will host several games and the final of the Cricket World Cup in 2007, and much of the country’s investment is directed toward accommodating the expected influx of visitors. The government and private sector are both working to prepare the country for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME)—a European Union-style single market.

FOREIGN RELATIONS

As a small nation, the primary thrust of Barbados’ diplomatic activity has been within international organizations. The island is a member of the Commonwealth and participates in its activities. Barbados was admitted to the United Nations in December 1966. Barbados joined the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1967. On July 4, 1973, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Jamaica signed a treaty in Trinidad to found the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM). In May 1974, most of the remaining English-speaking Caribbean states joined CARICOM, which now has 14 members. Barbados also is a member of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), established in 1970, with headquarters in Bridgetown. The eastern Caribbean’s Regional Security System (RSS), which associates Barbados with six other island nations, also is headquartered in Barbados. In July 1994, Barbados joined the newly established Association of Caribbean States (ACS).

In May 1997, Prime Minister Owen Arthur hosted President Clinton and 14 other Caribbean leaders during the first-ever U.S.-regional summit in Bridgetown, Barbados. The summit strengthened the basis for regional cooperation on justice and counter narcotics issues, finance and development, and trade. Barbados has diplomatic missions headed by resident ambassadors or high commissioners in Canada, the U.K., the U.S., and Venezuela, and at the European Union (Brussels) and the UN. It also has resident consuls general in Toronto, Miami, and New York City. Brazil, Canada, China, Cuba, the U.K., the U.S., and Venezuela have ambassadors or high commissioners resident in Barbados.

U.S.-BARBADIAN RELATIONS

In 1751, George Washington visited Barbados, making what is believed to have been his only trip abroad. The U.S. Government has been represented on Barbados since 1824. From 1956 to 1978, the U.S. operated a naval facility in Barbados.

The U.S. and Barbados have had friendly bilateral relations since Barbados’ independence in 1966. The U.S. has supported the government’s efforts to expand the country’s economic base and to provide a higher standard of living for its citizens. Barbados is a beneficiary of the U.S. Caribbean Basin Initiative.

U.S. assistance is channeled primarily through multilateral agencies such as the Inter-American Development Bank and the World Bank, as well as the USAID office in Bridgetown. Barbados also receives substantial counternarcotics assistance and is eligible to benefit from the U.S. military’s exercise-related and humanitarian assistance construction program.

Barbados and U.S. authorities cooperate closely in the fight against narcotics trafficking and other forms of transnational crime. In 1996, the U.S. and Barbados signed a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) and an updated extradition treaty covering all common offenses, including conspiracy and organized crime. A maritime law enforcement agreement was signed in 1997.

A popular tourist destination, Barbados had around 1.3 million tourists in 2005, mainly cruise ship visitors. The majority of tourists are from the U.K., Germany, the Caribbean, and the U.S. An estimated 3,000 Americans reside in the country.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

BRIDGETOWN (E) Address: Wildey Business Park, Wildey, St. Michael BB 14006; APO/FPO: APO AA 34055; Phone: 246-436-4950; Fax: 246-429-5246; Workweek: Mon-Fri: 8.00–4.30.

AMB:Mary M. Ourisman
AMB OMS:Honora L. Myers
DCM:Mary Ellen T. Gilroy
DCM OMS:Joann M. Liner-Collins
CG:Clyde I. Howard
POL:Sheila J. Peters
MGT:Dean Wooden
AID:James Goggin
CLO:Monique Weekes
DAO:Edgar Hernandez (res. Caracas)
DEA:Charles Graham
ECO:Anthony Eterno
EEO:Ricardo Cabrera
FAA:Dawn Flanagan (res. Washington)
FCS:Michael McGee (Santo Domingo)
FMO:Karin Sullivan
GSO:Paul A. Kalinowski
ICASS Chair:Cdr. P. Kofi Aboagye
IMO:Ricardo Cabrera
IRS:Cheryl Kast
ISO:Manuel Dipre
ISSO:Manuel Dipre
LAB:Martina Strong
LEGATT:Samuel Bryant
MLO:Cdr.P. Kofi Aboagye
NAS:Julie A. O’Reagan (Acting)
PAO:Julie A. O’Reagan
RSO:Robert W. Starnes

Last Updated: 1/9/2007

Other Contact Information

U.S. Department of Commerce
International Trade
Administration
Office of Latin America and
the Caribbean

14th & Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20230
Tel: 202-482-1658, 800-USA-Trade
Fax 202-482-0464

Caribbean/Latin
American Action

1818 N Street, NW
Suite 310
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: 202-466-7464
Fax: 202-822-0075

TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet : February 21, 2007

Country Description: Barbados is an independent Caribbean island nation with a developed economy. The capital is Bridgetown. Facilities for tourism are widely available. The U.S. Embassy in Barbados has consular responsibility over Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as the British dependent territories of Anguilla, British Virgin Islands and Montserrat, and the French islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Barthelemy and St. Martin.

Exit/Entry Requirements: U.S. citizens must enter Barbados using a valid U.S. passport. No visa is needed to enter Barbados for stays up to 28 days. There is a departure tax for travelers over the age of twelve. See our Foreign Entry Requirements brochure for more information on Barbados and other countries. For further information, travelers may contact the Embassy of Barbados, 2144 Wyoming Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 939-9200, fax (202) 332-7467, Internet e-mail: [email protected]; or the consulates of Barbados in Los Angeles, Miami or New York.

Safety and Security: For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Internet web site where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada, or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime: Crime in Barbados is characterized by petty theft and street crime. Incidents of violent crime, including rape, occur. Visitors should be especially vigilant on the beaches at night. Visitors should try to secure valuables in a hotel safe and take care to always lock and secure hotel room doors and windows.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Medical care is generally good, but medical transport can take hours to respond and ambulance attendants are prohibited from applying lifesaving techniques during transport. Minor problems requiring a visit to the emergency room can involve a wait of several hours; private clinics and physicians offer speedier service. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services, and U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC’s Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization’s (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Barbados is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Driving in Barbados is on the left-hand side of the road. Taxis and buses are generally safe. Buses and vans and small buses are often crowded and tend to travel at high rates of speed. Night driving should be done with caution because of narrow roads with no shoulders and pedestrian/bicycle traffic.

For specific information concerning Barbados driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Barbados Tourism Authority at (212) 986-6516, http://www.barbados.org.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Barbados, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Barbados’ Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA’s internet website at http://www.faa.gov.

Special Circumstances: All Caribbean countries can be affected by hurricanes. The hurricane season normally runs from June to the end of November, but there have been hurricanes in December in recent years. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/. Please see our information on customs regulations.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country’s laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offences. Persons violating Barbados’ laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Barbados are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children’s Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children’s Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/family_1732.html.

Registration/Embassy Locations: Americans living or traveling in Barbados are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Barbados. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown in located in the Wildey Business Park in suburban Wildey, south and east of downtown Bridgetown. The main number for the Consular Section is (246) 431-0225; after hours, the Embassy duty officer can be reached by calling (246) 436-4950. The website for Embassy Bridgetown is http://bridgetown.usembassy.gov/.

International Adoption : March 2006

The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer: The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and current understanding. It does not necessarily reflect the actual state of the laws of a child’s country of birth and is provided for general information only. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Please Note: Only citizens of countries with which Barbados has diplomatic or consular relations may adopt Barbadian children. The United States has diplomatic relations with Barbados.

Patterns of Immigration: Please review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Adoption Authority: The adoption agency for all of Barbados is the Child Care Board, located at: The Fred Edghill Building, Cheapside, Fonta-belle, Barbados. The phone number is 1 (246) 426-2577. There are no private adoption agencies operating in Barbados.

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents: Both married and single people may adopt. Prospective adoptive parents who are already related to the child they plan to adopt must be at least 18 years old. Otherwise, at least one prospective adoptive parent must be 25 years old and at least 18 years older than the child.

Residency Requirements: The adoption of a Barbadian child can take place in Barbados or in the applicants’ country of residence. Applicants wishing to adopt a child in Barbados will be required to reside in the island for a period of at least 18 months. If applicants wish the adoption to take place in their country of residence, the applicants are required to come to Barbados for at least a few weeks in order to receive the child into their care and must attend the High Court hearing for the license to take the child out of Barbados for the purpose of adoption.

Time Frame: It will typically take non-Barbadians, including U.S. citizens, between six months and a year to adopt a Barbadian child, but it can take longer due to sometimes-lengthy Barbadian court procedures.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys: Private agencies are not allowed to provide adoption services. All adoptions must go through the Child Care Board.

Adoption Fees in Country: Average adoption attorney fees in Barbados are approximately U.S. $3000, which includes court fees. However, fees may vary depending on the attorney. It is necessary for the applicants to use an attorney in Barbados who will apply for the license on their behalf. There are no fees for filing adoption paperwork with the Child Care Board

Adoption Procedures: The laws that govern adoptions in Barbados are the Child Care Act and the Adoption Act. The Child Care Board administers these laws. Upon being notified of a prospective parent’s intent to adopt, the Child Care Board will contract a social welfare agency abroad to do a home study. The home study conducted for U.S. immigration procedures (form I-600A) is acceptable. Upon completion of the home study, the adoptive parents should submit it to the Child Care Board for review. After the Child Care Board approves the home study, the Child Care Board will identify a child based on the adoptive parents’ requests. The adoptive parents (using an attorney) will then need to obtain an order from a Barbadian court authorizing the care and custody of the minor. The adoptive parents are required to come to Barbados to attend the High Court hearing for the license and to receive the child into their care.

Documentary Requirements:

A completed home study and supporting documents:

  • Birth certificate of each prospective adoptive parent;
  • Marriage certificate and divorce documents (if applicable);
  • Medical report of each prospective adoptive parent, to be conducted in the parent’s country of residence;
  • Police reference;
  • Three (3) personal references known for a period of at least five (5) years and not family members;
  • Statement of applicant(s) income.

If the adoption is completed in Barbados, the adoptive parents should apply to the Office of the Registrar for a new birth certificate. If the adoption is to take place in the adoptive parents’ country of residence, the child must have a passport issued by Barbados Immigration in order to apply for a an immigrant visa.

Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Embassy and Consulates in the United States:
Embassy of Barbados
2144 Wyoming Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20008
Telephone: (202) 939-9200
Fax: (202) 332-7467

There are also consulates of Barbados in Los Angeles, Miami, and New York.

U.S. Immigration Requirements: Prospective adopting parents are strongly encouraged to consult USCIS publication M-249, The Immigration of Adopted and Prospective Adopting Children, as well as the Department of State publication, International Adoptions. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at travel. state.gov/family.

U.S. Embassy Bridgetown:
Consular Section
The ALICO Building
Cheapside
Bridgetown, Barbados
Telephone: (246) 431-0225
Fax: (246) 431-0179
Email: [email protected]
http://bridgetown.usembassy.gov/

Additional Information: Specific questions about adoption in Barbados may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown. General questions regarding intercountry adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children’s Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-407-4747.

views updated

BARBADOS

Compiled from the August 2005 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Barbados


PROFILE

Geography

Area:

431 sq. km. (166 sq. mi.); about three times the size of Washington, DC.

Cities:

Capital—Bridgetown.

Terrain:

Generally flat, hilly in the interior.

Climate:

Tropical.

People

Nationality:

Noun and adjective—Barbadian(s); informally "Bajan(s)."

Population (2004 estimate):

272,700.

Avg. annual growth rate (2004): 0.2%.

Ethnic groups:

Black 90%, White 4%, Asian or mixed 6%.

Religion:

Protestant 67% (Anglican 40%, Pentecostal 8%, Methodist 7%, other 12%), Roman Catholic 4%, none 17%, other 12%.

Language:

English.

Education:

Attendance—primary school 100%, secondary school 93%. Adult literacy—99%.

Health:

Infant mortality rate (1998)—7.8/1,000. Life expectancy—70.9 yrs. men; 76.12 yrs. women (2002 est.).

Work force (2004, 146,300):

tourism, government, manufacturing, construction, mining, agriculture, ishing.

Unemployment (2004):

9.8%.

Government

Type:

Parliamentary democracy; independent sovereign state within the Commonwealth.

Independence:

November 30, 1966.

Constitution:

1966.

Branches:

Executive—governor general (representing Queen Elizabeth II, head of state), prime minister (head of government), cabinet. Legislative—bicameral Parliament. Judicial—magistrate's courts, Supreme Court (High Court and Court of Appeals), privy council in London.

Subdivisions:

Eleven parishes and the city of Bridgetown.

Political parties:

Barbados Labor Party (BLP, incumbent), Democratic Labor Party (DLP), National Democratic Party (NDP).

Suffrage:

Universal at 18.

Economy

GDP (2004):

$2.8 billion.

GDP growth rate (2004):

3.4%.

Per capita GDP (2004 est.):

$12,000.

Average inflation rate (first half of 2005):

2.4%.

Natural resources:

Petroleum, Fishing, quarrying, natural gas.

Agriculture (4% of GDP):

Sugar accounts for less than 1% of GDP and 80% of arable land.

Industry:

Manufacturing and construction (12% of GDP)—food, beverages, electronic components, textiles, paper, chemicals.

Services:

(83% of GDP) Tourism, banking and other financial services, data processing.

Trade (2004):

Exports—$278 million. Major markets—U.S. 15%, Trinidad and Tobago 10%, U.K. 10%, and Jamaica 4%. Imports—$1,413 million. Major suppliers—U.S. 36%, Trinidad and Tobago 21%, U.K. 6%, Japan 5%.

Official exchange rate: Barbados dollars (BDS) 2=U.S.$1.


PEOPLE

About 90% of Barbados' population is of African descent, 4% European descent, and 6% Asian or mixed. About 40% of Barbadians are Anglican, and the rest mostly Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, and Moravian. There also are small Jewish and Muslim communities. Barbados' population growth rate has been very low, less than 1% since the 1960s, largely due to family planning efforts and a high emigration rate.


HISTORY

British sailors who landed on Barbados in the 1620s at the site of present-day Holetown on the Caribbean coast found the island uninhabited. As elsewhere in the eastern Caribbean, Arawak Indians may have been annihilated by invading Caribs, who are believed to have subsequently abandoned the island.

From the arrival of the first British settlers in 1627-28 until independence in 1966, Barbados was a self-funding colony under uninterrupted British rule. Nevertheless, Barbados always enjoyed a large measure of local autonomy. Its House of Assembly, which began meeting in 1639, is the third-oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere, preceded only by Bermuda's legislature and the Virginia House of Burgesses.

As the sugar industry developed into the main commercial enterprise, Barbados was divided into large plantation estates, which replace the small holdings of the early British settlers. Some of the displaced farmers relocated to British colonies in North America. To work the plantations, slaves were brought from Africa; the slave trade ceased a few years before the abolition of slavery throughout the British empire in 1834.

Plantation owners and merchants of British descent dominated local politics. It was not until the 1930s that the descendants of emancipated slaves began a movement for political rights. One of the leaders of this movement, Sir Grantley Adams, founded the Barbados Labor Party in 1938. Progress toward more democratic government for Barbados was made in 1951, when the first general election under universal adult suffrage occurred. This was followed by steps toward increased self-government, and in 1961, Barbados achieved internal autonomy.

From 1958 to 1962, Barbados was one of 10 members of the West Indies Federation, and Sir Grantley Adams served as its first and only prime minister. When the federation was terminated, Barbados reverted to its former status as a self-governing colony. Following several attempts to form another federation composed of Barbados and the Leeward and Windward Islands, Barbados negotiated its own independence at a constitutional conference with the United Kingdom in June 1966. After years of peaceful and democratic progress, Barbados became an independent state within the British Commonwealth on November 30, 1966.

Under its constitution, Barbados is a parliamentary democracy modeled on the British system. The governor general represents the monarch. Control of the government rests with the cabinet, headed by the prime minister and responsible to the Parliament.

The bicameral Parliament consists of the House of Assembly and Senate. The 30 members of the House are elected by universal suffrage to 5-year terms. Elections may be called at any time the government wishes to seek a new mandate or if the government suffers a vote of no-confidence in Parliament, with a 5-year maximum duration for Parliament. The Senate's 21 members are appointed by the governor general—12 with the advice of the prime minister, two with the advice of the leader of the opposition, and seven at the governor general's discretion to represent segments of the community.

Barbados has an independent judiciary composed of magistrate courts, which are statutorily authorized, and a Supreme Court, which is constitutionally mandated. The Supreme Court consists of the high court and the court of appeals, each with four judges. The Chief Justice serves on both the high court and the court of appeals. The court of last resort is the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty's Privy Council in London, whose decisions are binding on all parties. Judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister after consultation with the leader of the opposition.

The island is divided into 11 parishes and the city of Bridgetown for administrative purposes. There is no local government. Barbados' defense expenditures account for about 2.5% of the government budget.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The three political parties—the Barbados Labor Party (BLP), the Democratic Labor Party (DLP), and the semi-defunct National Democratic Party (NDP)—are all moderate and have no major ideological differences; electoral contests and political disputes often have personal overtones. The major political problems facing Barbados today are in promoting economic growth: creating jobs, encouraging agricultural diversification, attracting foreign investment, and promoting tourism.

The ruling BLP was decisively returned to power in May 2003 elections, winning 23 seats in the Parliament with the DLP gaining seven seats. The Prime Minister, Owen Arthur, who also serves as Minister of Finance and Minister of Culture, has given a high priority to economic development and diversification. The main opposition party, the DLP, is led by Sen. Clyde Mascoll, who was elected President of the DLP in 2001, as part of a party reorganization.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 3/2/2005

Governor General: Clifford HUSBANDS , Sir
Prime Minister: Owen ARTHUR
Dep. Prime Min.: Mia MOTTLEY
Special Envoy to the Prime Minister on Technology, Investment, & Trade: Phillip GODDARD
Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development: Erskine GRIFFITH
Min. of the Civil Service: Owen ARTHUR
Min. of Commerce, Consumer Affairs, &Business Development: Lynette EASTMOND
Min. of Defense & Security: Owen ARTHUR
Min. of Education, Youth Affairs, & Sports: Reginald FARLEY
Min. of Energy & Public Utilities: Anthony WOOD
Min. of Finance & Economic Affairs: Owen ARTHUR
Min. of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade: Billie MILLER
Min. of Health: Jerome WALCOTT, Dr.
Min. of Home Affairs: Mia MOTTLEY
Min. of Housing, Lands, & Environment: Elizabeth THOMPSON
Min. of Industry & International Business: Dale MARSHALL
Min. of Information: Owen ARTHUR
Min. of Labor & Social Security: Rawle EASTMOND
Min. of Public Works: Gline CLARKE
Min. of Social Transformation: Hamilton LASHLEY
Min. of Tourism & International Transport: Noel Anderson LYNCH
Min. of State for Education: Cynthia FORDE
Min. of State for Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade: Kerrie SYMMONDS
Min. of State in the Prime Minister's Office: John WILLIAMS
Attorney General: Mia MOTTLEY
Governor, Central Bank: Marion WILLIAMS
Ambassador to the US: Michael KING
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Christopher HACKETT

Barbados maintains an embassy in the United States located at 2144 Wyoming Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-939-9200), a consulate general in New York City at 800 2nd Avenue, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10017 (tel. 212-867-8435), and a consulate general in Miami at 150 Alhambra Circle, Suite 1270, Coral Gables, FL33134 (tel. 305-442-1994).


ECONOMY

Since independence, Barbados has transformed itself from a low-income economy dependent upon sugar production into an upper-middle-income economy based on tourism. Barbados is now one of the most prosperous countries in the western hemisphere outside of the U.S. and Canada. The economy went into a deep recession in 1990 after 3 years of steady decline brought on by fundamental macro-economic imbalances. After a painful readjustment process, the economy began to grow again in 1993. Growth rates averaged between 3%-5% since

then until 2001, when the economy contracted 2.8% in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks and the global drop-off in tourism. Growth picked up again in 2003, and the economy grew by 3.4% in 2004.

Tourism drives the economy in Barbados, but offshore banking and financial services have become an increasingly important source of foreign exchange and economic growth. The sugar industry, once dominant, now makes up less than 1% of GDP and only employs around 800 people. The labor force totaled 146,300 persons at the end of 2004, with a near-historic low unemployment rate of 9.8%.

Barbados will host several games and the final of the Cricket World Cup in 2007, and much of the country's investment is directed toward accommodating the expected influx of visitors. The government and private sector are both working to prepare the country for the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME)—a European Union-style single market scheduled to begin in January 2006.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

As a small nation, the primary thrust of Barbados' diplomatic activity has been within international organizations. The island is a member of the Commonwealth and participates in its activities. Barbados was admitted to the United Nations in December 1966. Barbados joined the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1967.

On July 4, 1973, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Jamaica signed a treaty in Trinidad to found the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM). In May 1974, most of the remaining English-speaking Caribbean states joined CARICOM, which now has 14 members. Barbados also is a member of the Caribbean Development Bank, established in 1970, with headquarters in Bridgetown. The eastern Caribbean's Regional Security System, which associates Barbados with six other island nations, also is headquartered in Barbados. In July 1994, Barbados joined the newly established Association of Caribbean States (ACS).

As a member of CARICOM, Barbados supported efforts by the United States to implement UN Security Council Resolution 940, designed to facilitate the departure of Haiti's de facto authorities from power. The country agreed to contribute personnel to the multinational force, which restored the democratically elected government of Haiti in October 1994.

In May 1997, Prime Minister Owen Arthur hosted President Clinton and 14 other Caribbean leaders during the first-ever U.S.-regional summit in Bridgetown, Barbados. The summit strengthened the basis for regional cooperation on justice and counter narcotics issues, finance and development, and trade.

Barbados has diplomatic missions headed by resident ambassadors or high commissioners in Canada, the U.K., the U.S., and Venezuela, and at the European Union (Brussels) and the UN. It also has resident consuls general in Toronto, Miami, and New York City. Brazil, Canada, Colombia, China, Guatemala, the U.K., the U.S., and Venezuela have ambassadors or high commissioners resident in Barbados.


U.S.-BARBADIAN RELATIONS

In 1751, George Washington visited Barbados, making what is believed to have been his only trip abroad. The U.S. Government has been represented on Barbados since 1824. From 1956 to 1978, the U.S. operated a naval facility in Barbados.

The U.S. and Barbados have had friendly bilateral relations since Barbados' independence in 1966. The U.S. has supported the government's efforts to expand the country's economic base and to provide a higher standard of living for its citizens. Barbados is a beneficiary of the U.S. Caribbean Basin Initiative. U.S. assistance is channeled primarily through multilateral agencies such as the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, and the recently opened USAID Caribbean Regional Program office in Bridgetown.

Barbados also receives substantial counter narcotics assistance and is eligible to benefit from the U.S. military's exercise-related and humanitarian assistance construction program.

Barbados and U.S. authorities cooperate closely in the fight against narcotics trafficking and other forms of transnational crime. In 1996, the U.S. and Barbados signed a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) and an updated extradition treaty covering all common offenses, including conspiracy and organized crime. A maritime law enforcement agreement was signed in 1997. Barbados is the headquarters of the Regional Security System (RSS), which involves the Coast Guards of the OECS. It is currently supported by U.S. funding but is due to evolve into a regionally funded organization according to an agreed schedule.

A popular tourist destination, Barbados had around 1.3 million total tourists in 2004, mainly cruise ship visitors. The majority of tourists are from the U.K., the Caribbean, or the U.S., and an estimated 3,000 Americans reside in the country.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

BRIDGETOWN (E) Address: CIBC Building, Broad Street, Bridgetown; APO/FPO: APO AA 34055; Phone: 246-436-4950; Fax: 246-429-5246; Workweek: Mon-Fri: 8.00-4.30

AMB:Mary E. Kramer
AMB OMS:Nancy Doe
DCM:Mary Ellen T. Gilroy
DCM OMS:Joann M. Liner-Collins
CG:Clyde I. Howard
POL:Sheila J. Peters
COM:David Katz (res. Santo Domingo)
MGT:Leo F. Voytko
AFSA:Vincent Wing
AID:Rebecca J. Rohrer
CLO:Georgetta M. Carroll
DAO:Bill Delehunt; Cdr Matt Crawley (both res. Caracas)
DEA:Hollis A. Williams
ECO:John M. Ashworth
EEO:Marilyn R. Gayton
FAA:Dawn Flanagan (res. Washington)
FMO:Vincent Wing
GSO:Paul A. Kalinowski
ICASS Chair:Peter Kilfoyle
IMO:Ricardo Cabrera
IRS:Cheryl Kast
LAB:Alfred Anzaldua
LEGATT:Susan R. Chainer
MLO:Peter Kilfoyle
NAS:Patricia Aguilera
PAO:Julie A. O'Reagan
RSO:Robert W. Starnes
Last Updated: 10/22/2005

Other Contact Information

U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration Office of Latin America and the Caribbean
14th & Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20230
Tel: 202-482-1658, 800-USA-Trade
Fax: 202-482-0464

Caribbean/Latin American Action
1818 N Street, NW
Suite 310
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: 202-466-7464
Fax: 202-822-0075


TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

December 14, 2004

Country Description:

Barbados is an independent Caribbean island nation with a developed economy. The capital is Bridgetown. Facilities for tourism are widely available. The U.S. Embassy in Barbados has consular responsibility over Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as the British dependent territories of Anguilla, British Virgin Islands and Montserrat, and the French islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Barthelemy and St. Martin.

Entry/Exit Requirements:

U.S. citizens must enter Barbados using a valid U.S. passport. No visa is needed to enter Barbados for stays up to 28 days. There is a departure tax for travelers over the age of twelve. For further information, travelers may contact the Embassy of Barbados, 2144 Wyoming Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 939-9200, fax (202) 332-7467, Internet e-mail: [email protected]; or the consulates of Barbados in Los Angeles, Miami or New York.

Safety and Security:

For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found. Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers out-side the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Crime:

Crime in Barbados is characterized by petty theft and street crime. Incidents of violent crime, including rape, occur. Visitors should be especially vigilant on the beaches at night. Visitors should try to secure valuables in a hotel safe and take care to always lock and secure hotel room doors and windows.

Information for Victims of Crime:

The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed. Posts in countries that have victims of crime assistance programs should include that information.

Medical Facilities and Health Information:

Medical care is generally good, but medical transport can take hours to respond and ambulance attendants are prohibited from applying lifesaving techniques during transport. Minor problems requiring a visit to the emergency room can involve a wait of several hours; private clinics and physicians offer speedier service. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services, and U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747) or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) website at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance:

The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions:

While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Barbados is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Driving in Barbados is on the left-hand side of the road. Taxis and buses are generally safe. Buses and vans and small buses are often crowded and tend to travel at high rates of speed. Night driving should be done with caution because of narrow roads with no shoulders and pedestrian/bicycle traffic.

For specific information concerning Barbados driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Barbados Tourism Authority at (212) 986-6516, http://www.barbados.org.

Aviation Safety Oversight:

As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Barbados, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Barbados' Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.

Special Circumstances:

All Caribbean countries can be affected by hurricanes. The hurricane season normally runs from June to the end of November, but there have been hurricanes in December in recent years. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.

Criminal Penalties:

While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offences. Persons violating Barbados' laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Barbados are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues:

For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/index.html.

Registration/Embassy Location:

Americans living or traveling in Barbados are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Barbados. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located in the First Caribbean International Bank Building on Broad Street, telephone 1-246-436-4950, website http://bridgetown.usembassy.gov/. The Consular Section is located in the American Life Insurance Company (ALICO) Building, Cheapside, telephone 1-246-431-0225 or fax 1-246-431-0179, website http://bridgetown.usembassy.gov. Hours of operation are 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:00-2:00 p.m. Monday-Friday, except Barbados and U.S. holidays.

International Adoption

January 2006

The information below has been edited from a report of the State Department Bureau of Consular Affairs, Office of Overseas Citizens Services. For more information, please read the International Adoption section of this book and review current reports online at www.travel.state.gov/family.

Disclaimer:

The information in this flyer relating to the legal requirements of specific foreign countries is based on public sources and our current understanding. Questions involving foreign and U.S. immigration laws and legal interpretation should be addressed respectively to qualified foreign or U.S. legal counsel.

Please Note:

Only citizens of countries with which Barbados has diplomatic or consular relations may adopt Barbadian children. The United States has diplomatic relations with Barbados.

Patterns of Immigration of Adopted Orphans to the U.S.:

Recent U.S. immigrant visa statistics reflect the following pattern for visa issuance to orphans

Fiscal Year: Number of Immigrant Visas Issued

FY 2004: 1
FY 2003: 1
FY 2002: 1
FY 2001: 1
FY 2000: 0

Adoption Authority in Barbados:

The adoption agency for all of Barbados is the Child Care Board, located at: The Fred Edghill Building, Cheap-side, Fontabelle, Barbados. The phone number is 1 (246) 426-2577. There are no private adoption agencies operating in Barbados.

Eligibility Requirements for Adoptive Parents:

The government of Barbados requires that at least one of the prospective adoptive parents must be twenty-five years old and at least eighteen years older than the child to be adopted or the perspective adoptive parent must be a relative who is a least eighteen years old. Single parents may adopt.

Residential Requirements:

There are no residency requirements to adopt a Barbadian child. Potential adoptive parents resident abroad must obtain permission from a Barbadian court authorizing adoption for the purpose of emigration. The judge must be satisfied that the minor will be lawfully admitted to the adoptive parent's home country.

Time Frame:

It will typically take non-nationals between six months to a year to adopt a Barbadian child, but it can take longer due to sometimes-lengthy Barbadian court procedures.

Adoption Agencies and Attorneys:

Private agencies are allowed to provide adoption services. For overseas applicant(s), private agencies that are accredited in the country of residence of the applicant(s) must provide the Home Study Reports and Supervisory Reports to facilitate the adoption process with the Child Care Board.

Adoption Fees in Barbados:

Average adoption attorney fees in Barbados are approximately U.S. $2000. Fees can vary depending on the attorney.

Adoption Procedures:

The laws that govern adoptions in Barbados are the Child Care Act and the Adoption Act. The Child Care Board administers these laws. Upon being notified of intent to adopt, the Child Care Board will contract a social welfare agency abroad to do a home study (i.e. visit the adoptive parents' home in the US). The home study conducted for U.S. immigration procedures is acceptable. Upon completion of the home study, the Child Care Board will review the application. If approved, the adoptive parents (using an attorney) will then need to obtain an order from a Barbadian court authorizing the care and possession of the minor.

During the first six months after adoption, either the Child Care Board or the parents can revoke the adoption. The Board's decisions may be appealed to the High Court of Barbados.

Documents Required for Adoption in Barbados:

A completed Home Study and supporting documents: Birth Certificate of each applicant

  • Marriage Certificate or divorce documents if applicable
  • Medical Report of each applicant
  • Police Reference
  • Three (3) Personal References known for a period of at least five (5) years and not family members
  • Statement of applicant(s) income
  • Death Certificate if one (1) parent is deceased and the child is in a defacto adoption arrangement

Authenticating U.S. Documents to be Used Abroad:

Barbados is not a party of the Hague Convention Abolishing the Requirement for Legalization of Foreign Public Documents, so the Legalization Convention "apostille" certificate should not be used for documents to be presented in Barbados. Instead, the "chain authentication method" will be used to authenticate documents for Barbados. This process involves seeking the proper authorities to attest to the validity of a succession of seals or signatures beginning with the seal on your document, proceeding to the U.S. Department of State Authentications Office, (http://www.state.gov/m/a/auth/) and ending with the seal of the Barbados Embassy or Consulate in the United States. Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at travel.state.gov/family.

Barbados Embassy and Consulates in the United States:

2144 Wyoming Avenue,
NW Washington DC 20008
Telephone: (202) 939-9200
Fax: (202) 332-7467

There are also consulates of Barbados in Los Angeles, Miami, and New York.

U.S. Immigration Requirements:

Please see the International Adoption section of this book for more details and review current reports online at travel.state.gov/family

Applying for a Visa for your Child at the U.S. Embassy in Barbados:

The U.S. Embassy in Barbados requests that perspective adoptive parents contact them directly as soon as they have received their approved I-600A or I-600.

Additional Information:

Specific questions about adoption in Barbados may be addressed to the U.S. Embassy in Barbados. General questions regarding international adoption may be addressed to the Office of Children's Issues, U.S. Department of State, CA/OCS/CI, SA-29, 4th Floor, 2201 C Street, NW, Washington, D.C. 20520-4818, toll-free Tel: 1-888-404-4747.

views updated

Barbados

Basic Data
Official Country Name: Barbados
Region: South America
Population: 274,540
Language(s): English
Literacy Rate: 97.4%
Academic Year: September-July
Number of Primary Schools: 106
Compulsory Schooling: 11 years
Educational Enrollment: Primary: 26,662
  Secondary: 28,818
Educational Enrollment Rate: Higher: 29%
Teachers: Primary: 1,553
  Secondary: 1,231
Student-Teacher Ratio: Primary: 17:1
Female Enrollment Rate: Higher: 35%



History & Background

The nation of Barbados, the easternmost island of the West Indies, lies in the Atlantic Ocean, 100 miles (160 kilometers) east of the Windward Islands; a former British colony, it has a total of 166 square miles, about 2.5 times the size of Washington, D.C. The name Barbados comes from the Portuguese word for "bearded" and probably refers to the bearded fig trees that grow there.

Barbados, sometimes referred to as "little England," was colonized by the British in the 1620s. However, Amerindian tribes were the first inhabitants of Barbados. Both the peaceful Arawaks and the more warrior-like Caribs claimed the island as their home. Barbados historians believe that the Caribs may have forced the Arawaks off the island. By the early 1600s, few Indians remained on the island because the Caribs either migrated to the north or south or were taken by Spanish sailors as slaves. In 1625, Captain John Powell arrived in Barbados and claimed it for Britain. Later British colonists settled the island; it was officially made a Crown possession in 1663. The introduction of sugarcane as a principal crop prompted the importation of African slaves to work the plantations. This practice continued until Britain abolished slavery in 1834. Its economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum, and molasses production throughout most of the twentieth century. In the 1990s tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance. Although Barbados had a relatively high per capita growth rate in the 1980s, unemployment, especially among the youth and women, has been a serious problem. Most of the employment is in service and distribution trades, the greater part of which has been unionized.

Barbados is one of the world's most densely populated countries. In 2000 the population was estimated to be 275,000, with 1,597 persons per square mile. Three quarters of its population is under age 44. Population projections put growth at less than 2 percent by the year 2010. Since the 1950s the rate of population growth has been slowed by a successful family planning program and by emigration, now mostly to the other parts of the Caribbean and to North America. During this same time, the death and infant mortality rates declined sharply, and life expectancy rose to 73 years. More than one third of the population is concentrated in Bridgetown, the capital and only seaport, and its surrounding area. About 80 percent of its residents are descendants of African slaves brought to the island 300 years ago. The remaining population includes whites (about 4 percent), East Indians, and persons of mixed African and European descent. English is the official language and is the language of instruction in the schools; a nonstandard English called Bajan is spoken.


Constitutional & Legal Foundations

Barbados was established as an independent member of the Commonwealth of Nations on November 30, 1966. It has a parliamentary form of democracy based on the Westminster model. The British monarch is officially head of state and is represented by a governor general with limited power. Legislative power is vested in the Parliament, comprised of a 27-member elected House of Assembly, a 21-member appointed Upper House or Senate, and the Governor General. Executive power is vested in the Cabinet, comprised of the Prime Minister and other Ministers of Government. The general direction and control of the government rests with the Cabinet, which is collectively responsible to Parliament. The Barbados Parliament is the third oldest in the world with 358 years of an uninterrupted parliamentary system of government.

The government holds the view that the development of Barbados is dependent upon the quality of its educational system; in the Government of Barbados Development Plan, 1988-1993, is a statement of its commitment to "the development of an educational system that enables all persons to realize their talents to the fullest extent possible."

There are three political parties in Barbados, all of which place great emphasis on educational development. The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) is one of Barbados' oldest leading parties and currently the ruling party; it was in power in 1950 when universal adult suffrage became the law.


Educational SystemOverview


Formal education in Barbados can be traced back to 1680. The present system developed largely from the 1890 Education Act, which established rigid distinctions between and even within levels of education. In 1932, the Marriot-Mayhew Commission carried out a comprehensive investigation of the colony's educational service. It recommended additional educational programs to cater to specific groups, especially teachers, and to the wider community. As a result, a new Teachers' Training College was opened, new secondary schools were established, and a loan fund was created to assist individuals in obtaining higher education abroad. Technical and vocational training was also introduced. A new Education Act emerged in 1981 that sought to provide greater equality of opportunity. Once universal access to basic education was achieved, the country turned its attention toward reform of the education system to stay current with economic and technological change. The Planning Section of the Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Culture compiled a White Paper on Education Reform for Barbados in 1995.

The Barbados government pays the cost of educating its students through primary, secondary, and tertiary level, including provision of textbooks. This strong emphasis on education has resulted in a literacy rate of 98 percent, one of the highest in the world. Public education is compulsory for children, thus providing for 100 percent participation at the primary and secondary levels (children ages 5 to 16). Such an accomplishment was achieved at the primary level for most of the century and at the secondary level in more recent times. In order to ensure active participation by all students, programs include the provision of school meals at the primary level; a textbook loan scheme; transportation assistance; a uniform grant and bursaries at the secondary level; and a wide range of awards, grants, and scholarships at the tertiary level. These support systems reflect the underlying belief that "every person has a right to education opportunities to allow him/her to develop... abilities to the fullest and to contribute to the social and economic development of the country" (White Paper).

The challenge is to improve quality rather than access. The theme of the 1995 White Paper on Education Reform, "Each One MattersQuality Education for All," shifts the focus of education to the needs of each individual and identifies those areas of the system that have to be fixed, hopefully leading to an overall improvement in the quality of graduates from Barbadian schools and educational institutions.

The school year includes three terms of 13 to 14 weeks and runs from September to July. The school day begins at 8:30 a.m. and ends at 3:00 p.m. The education system is multi-staged with some overlap at each stage.


Preprimary & Primary Education

Preprimary education is offered to all children between the ages of three to five; they are taught in the four nursery schools and/or in nursery classes in some primary and composite schools. At present about 66 percent of three- and four-year-old children in Barbados are receiving preprimary education. Because of the declining birth rate, the government has been promoting the use of available space at primary and composite schools to provide nursery education.

Primary education is required for children between the ages of 5 and 11 with the goal of preparing them to be able to read and write, to reason, to deal with normal and conflict situations, to be numerate, and to develop high self-esteem. They are taught in 110 primary schools, of which 86 (78 percent) are public. At age 11, students take the Common Entrance Examination, a measure of what children have learned at the end of primary schooling. Because each child develops at his or her own rate, the government proposed, effective May 1996, that children be allowed to take the examination when they are ready. The class teachers and principal of the primary school determine readiness. Children only take the examination once, must be exposed to the entire primary school curriculum, and must be at least 10 years of age to enter secondary school.


Secondary Education

Secondary education is provided for children ages 11 to 18. There are 34 secondary schools, of which 22 are government-run and 12 are assisted private secondary schools. These schools fall into three categories: nine government-owned former grammar or older secondary schools, four of which have sixth forms; 13 assisted private schools; and newer secondary schools. In between the primary and secondary schools are the composite and senior schools. The function of these schools is to ensure that all students acquire knowledge, skills, and attitudes that will lay the basic foundation for future jobs and careers. In addition this level of schooling will ensure high levels of literacy, numeracy, and oracy by building on the primary foundation.

Admission to government secondary schools is based on the score the child receives in the Barbados Secondary Schools Entrance Examination (BSSEE), familiarly known as the Common Entrance Examination (CEE). On completion of five years of secondary education, pupils are tested for the Caribbean Examinations Certificate. On completion of a further two-year sixth-form course, pupils take the General Certificate of Education (GCE) Advanced 'A' levels, which allows direct entry to university-level studies.


Higher Education


Four institutions provide higher education, or tertiary education:

  1. Erdiston Teachers College, opened in 1948, provides training for nongraduate and graduate teachers.
  2. Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic was established in 1970 to provide day and night courses and programs in electrical, building and engineering trades, commerce, agriculture, and garments. Students can also prepare here for entry into the Division of Technology of the Barbados Community College.
  3. Barbados Community College (BCC) provides a range of programs in academic, vocational, and technical areas. Divisions of the college include fine arts, liberal arts, science, technology, and health sciences. In addition students can pursue studies at the Barbados Hospitality Institute (BHI), a full service hospitality training facility operated by BCC, providing certificate, diploma, and associate training programs in all aspects of the hospitality industry. The institute comprises both educational and accommodation components and is the first training facility of its kind in Barbados and the eastern Caribbean.
  4. University of the West Indies (UWI) (Cave Hill Campus) has faculties of arts and general studies, natural sciences, social sciences, medical sciences, law, and education. The UWI offers high educational standards and quality research and thus attracts the brightest students from the Caribbean and beyond, and maintains partnerships with the universities in the United Kingdom, United States of America, and Canada, including Oxford, Johns Hopkins, and McGill.

Administration, Finance, & Educational Research


Administration: Administrative control of the formal education system is fairly highly centralized. The Ministry of Education was first established in 1954 under the Premier while Barbados was still a British colony. In 1958, a separate ministry was created with its own staff of administrative and technical offices.

The Ministry is divided into two main sections, technical and administrative. The Chief Education Officer is in charge of the technical staff and is the chief professional advisor. The Permanent Secretary is the chief administrative officer with responsibility for finance. The primary schools are administered directly by the Ministry of Education; the secondary schools have Boards of Management that are appointed by and answer to the Minister of Education. All tertiary-level institutions have Boards of Management, except for UWI, which is a regional institution.


Finance: For more than three decades, Barbados has been committed to a policy of free education from primary schools to university. Between 1990 and 1999 an average of 20 percent of the public expenditure was devoted to education. This level of social investment led the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) to rank Barbados the top Caribbean country in human development. In its 1998 Human Development Report, the UNDP said Barbados ranks first overall in health, education, and average standard of living for the Caribbean region and 24th in the world rankings.

The education reform initiatives outlined in the 1995 White Paper were estimated to cost $35 million (Barbadian dollars) over a five-year period (1995-2000). In addition, the Ministry sought US$82 million in foreign and regional financing to fund a wide variety of projects. For example, in 1998 the Inter-American Development Bank approved a US$85 million loan to Barbados to support modernization of the education system and to prepare primary and secondary students for an information and technology-based economy of the twenty-first century. Primary and secondary schools began rehabilitation and re-equipment programs to make them computer and network ready, with computers gradually introduced in all classrooms. Teacher and student training to support the modernization process were included. Media centers created in each classroom include a TV set, videocassette recorder, and TV-OC converter. An additional joint venture by the Inter-American Development Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank resulted in a loan to Barbados of US$116.5 million to implement a computer-aided education program called EduTech 2000. The funds supported the purchase of about 10,000 computers for primary, secondary, and special education schools.


Educational Research: Educational research efforts called for in the 1995 White Paper included the adoption of a new teacher appraisal system; the establishment of a Teachers' Service Commission and a Curriculum Development Council; the provision of a national diagnostic assessment at the primary level; and new legislation establishing a council responsible for certification and articulation of programs at the secondary and tertiary levels.


Nonformal Education

The Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs, and Culture has established a system of adult and continuing education that provides opportunities for the adult population to broaden their general education and acquire specific skills through its nonformal and skills-training programs. Other government ministries and departments, such as the Ministries of Agriculture, Community Development, and Health, Employment, and Labor, also offer nonformal education (NFE) programs. The largest government provider of NFE programs is Barbados Community College through its Division of General and Continuing Studies. Several nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) are also involved in providing adult education, such as the School of Continuing Studies of UWI and the Barbados Institute of Management and Productivity, and various community groups such as the Young Men's Christian Association, the Young Women's Christian Association, and the Family Planning Association. The educational programs include skills training for hobbies and potential employment as well as personal development.

Teaching Profession

The 1995 White Paper on Education Reform highlighted teacher empowerment as one means for improving the overall educational experience for all students. The low morale of teachers has negatively impacted their effectiveness in the classroom. Additional problem areas include limited career paths, inadequate opportunities for training in technical and vocational areas, and limited opportunities for training and retraining to deal with the changing societydisciplinary problems and deviance, and social problems such as drugs, AIDS, and gender issues.

A strategic set of initiatives was created to enhance teacher satisfaction and improve student performance. Included was a broad-based committee to review terms and conditions of employment of teachers and principals.


Summary

As Barbados enters the new millennium, numerous reforms of its educational system have focused on helping Barbados "compete in the global market economy on equal terms in the knowledge-based and skilled-intensive industries..." (White Paper). Although many improvements have already begun, certain areas of concern will continue to be addressed. Those areas of concern include:

  • Teacher empowerment designed to raise morale through incentives, new appraisal systems, upgrading of training opportunities, and establishment of a Teachers' Commission
  • Curriculum reform through the establishment of a Curriculum Development Council to consider key issues like composition of the curriculum, student performance, and the need to establish attainment targets at each level of the national curriculum
  • Special education, including better identification of children in need of special education services, upgraded curriculum, additional teacher training, expansion of public awareness programs, and trying to secure grant financing to support special education programs in the private sector
  • Early childhood education (ECE) expansion in existing public primary schools through an acceleration of teacher training in ECE, an increase in production and dissemination of ECE curriculum materials, and use of parents as teacher aides
  • Primary education focus on the main factors that impact on student learning through initial screening of primary school children for physical impairments of sight, hearing and speech; teacher training to detect emotional problems; and diagnostic testing on a national scale at ages seven and nine
  • Senior and composite schools curriculum reform to meet more appropriately the educational life preparation needs of students who obtain very low scores in the Barbados Secondary Schools' Entrance Examination (BSSEE)
  • National certification to provide evidence that the holder of the certificate has satisfactorily completed an approved program of secondary education and attained an acceptable level of competency in a set of subjects
  • Assisted private schools government support through financing of teachers of remedial education and a subvention for introduction of information technology, along with strengthened supervision from the Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Culture
  • Children-at-risk problems to be met through appointment of two additional education psychologists to the Ministry, greater training for guidance counselors, and a new option in the out-of-school suspension program where students report to specified locations for remedial and counseling services
  • Sixth form schools curriculum expansion to include technical-vocational education, business education, and aesthetics, and establishment of a committee to review all pupil applications to ensure equitable access
  • Tertiary education initiatives to rationalize and accelerate the provision and quality of education that include establishing an advisory committee to the Minister on delivery of tertiary education and coordination and articulation of programs and management of postsecondary education; creating by statute a national accreditation and certification body to deal with accreditation matters at both the secondary and tertiary levels and for private and public sector bodies; specific measures to expand access to the various postsecondary institutions, including Barbados Community College (BCC), Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic (SJPP), participation in the adult and continuing education programs, and the use of distance education as a relevant tool; an advisory committee to help government keep its word and not charge tuition fees at the aforementioned institutions
  • Institutional strengthening through the launching of a Barbados/Inter-American Bank (IDB) Education Project designed to address organizational and management weaknesses
  • Financing education by instituting fiscal incentives to encourage community groups and the private sector to participate in the general maintenance of schools in an "Adopt-a-School" program

Perhaps the most pressing concern for Barbados in the future will be the rising costs of providing education to its citizens in this competitive world. However, the government remains committed to maintaining excellence in its educational system and to the belief that placing a premium on the education of its citizens will result in social, economic, and political growth.

Bibliography

Barbados Education and Educational Facilities. Available from http://barbados.org/educate.htm.

BarbadosEducation System. World Higher Education Database 2000 International Association of Universities/UNESCO International Centre on Higher Education. Available from http://www.usc.edu/.

The Central Intelligence Agency (CIA). The World Factbook 2000. Available from http://www.cia.gov/.

Coward, Louis Antonia. "Graduates' Perceptions of Program Processes and Outcomes of Selected Postsecondary Technical and Vocational Education Programs in Barbados." Ph.D. diss., Ohio State University, 1996.

Ellis, Patricia. Adult Education in Barbados. Caribbean Network of Educational Innovation for Development (CARNEID): UNESCO, 1993.

. "Non-Formal Education and Empowerment of Women: Report of A Study in the Caribbean." December 1994. ERIC, ED392960.

Executive Summary of Education Sector Enhancement Program (BA_0009) Loan Proposal. Government of Barbados Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Culture. 1998.

Government of Barbados 1988b Barbados Development Plan 1988-1993. Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Bridgetown.

Hewitt, Guy. "The Political Significance of Working Class Youth Subculture in Barbados." Studies in Caribbean Public Policy. Vol. 2. ed. D. Brown. Kingston, Jamaica: Canoe Press University of the West Indies, 1998. 1-29.

Lundy, Christine. "Caribbean Conference on Early Childhood Education Summary Report (1997)." ERIC, ED419577.

Senior, Olive. Working Miracles: Women's Lives in the English-Speaking Caribbean. Cave Hill, Barbados: University of the West Indies Institute of Social and Economic Research, 1991.

Tree, Ronald. A History of Barbados. New York: Random House, 1972.

White Paper on Education Reform for Barbados. The Planning Section, Ministry of Education, Youth Affairs and Culture, Barbados. July 1995.


Bonnie W. Epstein

views updated

BARBADOS

Compiled from the August 2004 Background Note and supplemented with additional information from the State Department and the editors of this volume. See the introduction to this set for explanatory notes.

Official Name:
Barbados


PROFILE

Geography

Area: 431 sq. km. (166 sq. mi.); about three times the size of Washington, DC.

Cities: Capital—Bridgetown.

Terrain: Generally flat, hilly in the interior.

Climate: Tropical.

People

Nationality: Noun and adjective—Barbadian(s); also "Bajan(s)."

Population: (2003 estimate) 276, 607 (WF). Avg. annual growth rate: (2001) 0.4%.

Ethnic groups: Black 90%, White 4%, Asian or mixed 6% (WF).

Religions: Protestant 67% (Anglican 40%, Pentecostal 8%, Methodist 7%, other 12%), Roman Catholic 4%, none 17%, other 12% (WF).

Languages: English.

Education: Attendance—primary school 100%, secondary school 93%. Adult literacy—99%.

Health: Infant mortality rate (1998)—7.8/1,000. Life expectancy—70.9 yrs. (WF) men; 76.12 yrs. women (2002 est. WF).

Work force: (2001, 142,000) Commerce, tourism, government, manufacturing, construction, mining, agriculture, fishing.

Unemployment: (2001) 9.9%.

Government

Type: Parliamentary democracy; independent sovereign state within the Commonwealth.

Independence: November 30, 1966.

Constitution: 1966.

Branches: Executive—governor general (representing Queen Elizabeth II, head of state), prime minister (head of government), cabinet. Legislative—bicameral Parliament. Judicial—magistrate's courts, Supreme Court (High Court and Court of Appeals), privy council in London.

Administrative subdivisions: Eleven parishes and the city of Bridgetown.

Political parties: Barbados Labor Party (BLP, incumbent), Democratic Labor Party (DLP), National Democratic Party (NDP).

Suffrage: Universal at 18.

Economy

GDP: (in U.S. $billions) $2.6.

Gross domestic savings ratio: (2001) 13.4%.

GDP growth rate: (2002) −0.4%.

Per capita GDP: (2002) $12,000.

Average inflation rate: (2002) 20.17%.

Natural resources: Petroleum, Fishing, natural gas.

Agriculture: (4% of GDP) Sugar accounts for 2.4% of GDP and 80% of arable land.

Industry: Manufacturing and construction (17% of GDP)—food, beverages, textiles, paper, chemicals, fabricated products.

Services: (76% of GDP) Tourism, banking and other financial services, Informatics (data processing).

Trade: (2001) Exports—$259 million. Major markets—U.S. 17%, CARICOM 45%, U.K. 14%, and Canada 3%. Imports—$1,068 million. Major suppliers—U.S. 42%, U.K. 8%, Canada 4%, CARICOM 15%.

Official exchange rate: Barbados dollars (BDS) 2=U.S.$1.


PEOPLE

About 90% of Barbados' population is of African descent, 4% European descent, and 6% Asian or mixed. About 40% of Barbadians are Anglican, and the rest mostly Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, and Moravian. There also are small Jewish and Muslim communities. Barbados' population growth rate has been very low, less than 1% since the 1960s, largely due to family planning efforts and a high emigration rate.


HISTORY

British sailors who landed on Barbados in the 1620s at the site of present-day Holetown on the Caribbean coast found the island uninhabited. As elsewhere in the eastern Caribbean, Arawak Indians may have been annihilated by invading Caribs, who are believed to have subsequently abandoned the island.

From the arrival of the first British settlers in 1627-28 until independence in 1966, Barbados was a self-funding colony under uninterrupted British rule. Nevertheless, Barbados always enjoyed a large measure of local autonomy. Its House of Assembly, which began meeting in 1639, is the third-oldest legislative body in the Western Hemisphere, preceded only by Bermuda's legislature and the Virginia House of Burgesses.

As the sugar industry developed into the main commercial enterprise, Barbados was divided into large plantation estates, which replace the small holdings of the early British settlers. Some of the displaced farmers relocated to British colonies in North America. To work the plantations, slaves were brought from Africa; the slave trade ceased a few years before the abolition of slavery throughout the British empire in 1834.

Plantation owners and merchants of British descent dominated local politics. It was not until the 1930s that the descendants of emancipated slaves began a movement for political rights. One of the leaders of this movement, Sir Grantley Adams, founded the Barbados Labor Party in 1938. Progress toward more democratic government for Barbados was made in 1951, when the first general election under universal adult suffrage occurred. This was followed by steps toward increased self-government, and in 1961, Barbados achieved internal autonomy.

From 1958 to 1962, Barbados was one of 10 members of the West Indies Federation, and Sir Grantley Adams served as its first and only prime minister. When the federation was terminated, Barbados reverted to its former status as a self-governing colony. Following several attempts to form another federation composed of Barbados and the Leeward and Windward Islands, Barbados negotiated its own independence at a constitutional conference with the United Kingdom in June 1966. After years of peaceful and democratic progress, Barbados became an independent state within the British Commonwealth on November 30, 1966.

Under its constitution, Barbados is a parliamentary democracy modeled on the British system. The governor general represents the monarch. Control of the government rests with the cabinet, headed by the prime minister and responsible to the Parliament.

The bicameral Parliament consists of the House of Assembly and Senate. The 30 members of the House are elected by universal suffrage to 5-year terms. Elections may be called at any time the government wishes to seek a new mandate or if the government suffers a vote of no-confidence in Parliament, with a 5-year maximum duration for Parliament. The Senate's 21 members are appointed by the governor general—12 with the advice of the prime minister, two with the advice of the leader of the opposition, and seven at the governor general's discretion to represent segments of the community.

Barbados has an independent judiciary composed of magistrate courts, which are statutorily authorized, and a Supreme Court, which is constitutionally mandated. The Supreme Court consists of the high court and the court of appeals, each with four judges. The Chief Justice serves on both the high court and the court of appeals. The court of last resort is the Judicial Committee of Her Majesty's Privy Council in London, whose decisions are binding on all parties. Judges of the Supreme Court are appointed by the governor general on the recommendation of the prime minister after consultation with the leader of the opposition.

The island is divided into 11 parishes and the city of Bridgetown for administrative purposes. There is no local government. Barbados' defense expenditures account for about 2.5% of the government budget.


GOVERNMENT AND POLITICAL CONDITIONS

The three political parties—the Barbados Labor Party (BLP), the Democratic Labor Party (DLP), and the semi-defunct National Democratic Party (NDP)—are all moderate and have no major ideological differences; electoral contests and political disputes often have personal overtones. The major political problems facing Barbados today are in promoting economic growth: creating jobs, encouraging agricultural diversification, attracting foreign investment, and promoting tourism.

The ruling BLP was decisively returned to power in May 2003 elections, winning 23 seats in the Parliament with the DLP gaining seven seats. The Prime Minister, Owen Arthur, who also serves as Minister of Finance and Minister of Culture, has given a high priority to economic development and diversification. The main opposition party, the DLP, is led by Sen. Clyde Mascoll, who was elected President of the DLP in 2001, as part of a party reorganization.

Principal Government Officials

Last Updated: 3/26/04

Governor General: Husbands , Clifford, Sir
Prime Minister: Arthur , Owen
Dep. Prime Min.: Mottley , Mia
Special Envoy to the Prime Minister on Technology, Investment, & Trade: Goddard , Phillip
Min. of Agriculture & Rural Development: Griffith , Erskine
Min. of the Civil Service: Arthur , Owen
Min. of Commerce, Consumer Affairs, & Business Development: Eastmond , Lynette
Min. of Defense & Security: Arthur , Owen
Min. of Education, Youth Affairs, & Sports: Farley , Reginald
Min. of Energy & Public Utilities: Wood , Anthony
Min. of Finance & Economic Affairs: Arthur , Owen
Min. of Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade: Miller , Billie
Min. of Health: Walcott , Jerome, Dr.
Min. of Home Affairs: Mottley , Mia
Min. of Housing, Lands, & Environment: Thompson , Elizabeth
Min. of Industry & International Business: Marshall , Dale
Min. of Information: Arthur , Owen
Min. of Labor & Social Security: Eastmond , Rawle
Min. of Public Works: Clarke , Gline
Min. of Social Transformation: Lashley , Hamilton
Min. of Tourism & International Transport: Lynch , Noel Anderson
Min. of State for Education: Forde , Cynthia
Min. of State for Foreign Affairs & Foreign Trade: Symmonds , Kerrie
Min. of State in the Prime Minister's Office: Williams , John
Attorney General: Mottley , Mia
Governor, Central Bank: Williams , Marion
Ambassador to the US: King , Michael
Permanent Representative to the UN, New York: Hackett , Christopher

Barbados maintains an embassy in the United States located at 2144 Wyoming Avenue, NW, Washington, DC 20008 (tel. 202-939-9200), a consulate general in New York City at 800 2nd Avenue, 18th Floor, New York, NY 10017 (tel. 212-867-8435), and a consulate general in Miami at 150 Alhambra Circle, Suite 1270, Coral Gables, FL 33134 (tel. 305-442-1994).


ECONOMY

Since independence, Barbados has transformed itself from a low-income economy dependent upon sugar production to a middle-income economy based on tourism. The economy went into a deep recession in 1990 after 3 years of steady decline brought on by fundamental macroeconomic imbalances. After a painful readjustment process, the economy began to grow again in 1993. Growth rates averaged between 3%-5% since then until 2001, when the economy contracted 2.8%. As 2004 nears, there are signs of a gradual economic recovery.

The main factors responsible for the decline in economic activity include a decrease in the number of tourist arrivals following September 11 events, the general global economic downturn, and the impact of a depreciated Euro on sugar exports. Offshore banking and financial services have become an increasingly important source of foreign exchange and economic growth.

By year-end 2001, the recession led to a rise in unemployment, led by net decreases in employment in the tourism sector, as well as in construction and manufacturing sectors. The public service remains Barbados' largest-single employer. The employed labor force totaled 128,600 persons at the end of 2001, and the unemployed labor force expanded from 13,000 in 2000 to 14,000 in 2001. At the end of 2001, 62,900 persons were economically inactive. Unemployment rose in 2002 to 10.3%, but is still significantly lower than the 20% levels of the early 1990s.


FOREIGN RELATIONS

As a small nation, the primary thrust of Barbados' diplomatic activity has been within international organizations. The island is a member of the Commonwealth and participates in its activities. Barbados was admitted to the United Nations in December 1966. Barbados joined the Organization of American States (OAS) in 1967.

On July 4, 1973, Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Jamaica signed a treaty in Trinidad to found the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM). In May 1974, most of the remaining English-speaking Caribbean states joined CARICOM, which now has 14 members. Barbados also is a member of the Caribbean Development Bank, established in 1970, with headquarters in Bridgetown. The eastern Caribbean's Regional Security System, which associates Barbados with six other island nations, also is headquartered in Barbados. In July 1994, Barbados joined the newly established Association of Caribbean States (ACS).

As a member of CARICOM, Barbados supported efforts by the United States to implement UN Security Council Resolution 940, designed to facilitate the departure of Haiti's de facto authorities from power. The country agreed to contribute personnel to the multinational force, which restored the democratically elected government of Haiti in October 1994.

In May 1997, Prime Minister Owen Arthur hosted President Clinton and 14 other Caribbean leaders during the first-ever U.S.-regional summit in Bridgetown, Barbados. The summit strengthened the basis for regional cooperation on justice and counternarcotics issues, finance and development, and trade.

Barbados has diplomatic missions headed by resident ambassadors or high commissioners in Canada, the U.K., the U.S., and Venezuela, and at the European Union (Brussels) and the UN. It also has resident consuls general in Toronto, Miami, and New York City. Brazil, Canada, Colombia, China, Guatemala, the U.K., the U.S., and Venezuela have ambassadors or high commissioners resident in Barbados.


U.S.-BARBADIAN RELATIONS

In 1751, George Washington visited Barbados, making what is believed to have been his only trip abroad. The U.S. Government has been represented on Barbados since 1824. From 1956 to 1978, the U.S. operated a naval facility in Barbados.

The U.S. and Barbados have had friendly bilateral relations since Barbados' independence in 1966. The U.S. has supported the government's efforts to expand the country's economic base and to provide a higher standard of living for its citizens. Barbados is a beneficiary of the U.S. Caribbean Basin Initiative. U.S. assistance is channeled primarily through multilateral agencies such as the Inter-American Development Bank, the World Bank, and the

recently opened USAID Caribbean Regional Program office in Bridgetown.

Barbados also receives substantial counternarcotics assistance and is eligible to benefit from the U.S. military's exercise-related and humanitarian assistance construction program.

Barbados and U.S. authorities cooperate closely in the fight against narcotics trafficking and other forms of transnational crime. In 1996, the U.S. and Barbados signed a mutual legal assistance treaty (MLAT) and an updated extradition treaty covering all common offenses, including conspiracy and organized crime. A maritime law enforcement agreement was signed in 1997. Barbados is the headquarters of the Regional Security System (RSS), which involves the Coast Guards of the OECS. It is currently supported by U.S. funding but is due to evolve into a regionally funded organization according to an agreed schedule.

A popular tourist destination, Barbados had over one million total tourists in 2002, mainly cruise ship visitors. The majority of tourists are from the U.K., the Caribbean, or the U.S. Approximately 140,000 Americans visited the island last year. An estimated 3,000 Americans reside in the country.

Principal U.S. Embassy Officials

BRIDGETOWN (E) Address: CIBC Building, Broad Street, Bridgetown; APO/FPO: APO AA 34055; Phone: 246-436-4950; Fax: 246-429-5246; Workweek: Mon–Fri: 8.00-4.30

AMB:Mary E. Kramer
AMB OMS:Bonita Estes
DCM:Mary Ellen T. Gilroy
DCM OMS:Joann M. Liner-Collins
CG:Robert L. Fretz
POL:Paul T. Belmont
COM:David Katz (res. Santo Domingo)
MGT:Leo F. Voytko
AFSA:Charles A. O'Malley
AID:Rebecca J. Rohrer
CLO:Georgetta M. Carroll
DAO:LtCol Bill Delehunt; Cdr Matt Crawley (both res. Caracas)
DEA:Hollis A. Williams
ECO:John M. Ashworth
EEO:Marilyn R. Gayton
FAA:Dawn Flanagan (res. Washington)
FMO:Vincent Wing
GSO:Alison Shorter-Lawrence
ICASS Chair:Peter Kilfoyle
IMO:Charles A. O'Malley
IRS:Cheryl Kast
LAB:Alfred Anzaldua
LEGATT:Susan R. Chainer
MLO:Peter Kilfoyle
NAS:Patricia Aguilera
PAO:Julie A. O'Reagan
RSO:Daniel C. Becker
Last Updated: 1/27/2005

Other Contact Information

U.S. Department of Commerce
International Trade Administration Office of Latin America and the Caribbean
14th & Constitution Avenue, NW
Washington, DC 20230
Tel: 202-482-1658, 800-USA-Trade;
Fax: 202-482-0464

Caribbean/Latin American Action
1818 N Street, NW
Suite 310
Washington, DC 20036
Tel: 202-466-7464
Fax: 202-822-0075

Eastern Caribbean-American Chamber of Commerce
P.O. Box 111
St. Michael, Barbados
Tel: 246-436-9493;
Fax: 246-43-9494
Email: [email protected]
Website: www.ecamcham.org


TRAVEL

Consular Information Sheet

December 14, 2004

Country Description: Barbados is an independent Caribbean island nation with a developed economy. The capital is Bridgetown. Facilities for tourism are widely available. The U.S. Embassy in Barbados has consular responsibility over Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, as well as the British dependent territories of Anguilla, British Virgin Islands and Montserrat, and the French islands of Martinique, Guadeloupe, St. Barthelemy and St. Martin.

Entry/Exit Requirements: U.S. citizens must enter Barbados using a valid U.S. passport. No visa is needed to enter Barbados for stays up to 28 days. There is a departure tax for travelers over the age of twelve. See our Foreign Entry Requirements brochure for more information on Barbados and other countries. For further information, travelers may contact the Embassy of Barbados, 2144 Wyoming Avenue, N.W., Washington, D.C. 20008, telephone (202) 939-9200, fax (202) 332-7467, Internet e-mail: [email protected]; or the consulates of Barbados in Los Angeles, Miami or New York.

Safety and Security: For the latest security information, Americans traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department's Internet web site at http://travel.state.gov where the current Worldwide Caution Public Announcement, Travel Warnings and Public Announcements can be found.

Up-to-date information on safety and security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S., or for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll-line at 1-317-472-2328. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

The Department of State urges American citizens to take responsibility for their own personal security while traveling overseas. For general information about appropriate measures travelers can take to protect themselves in an overseas environment, see the Department of State's pamphlet A Safe Trip Abroad.

Crime: Crime in Barbados is characterized by petty theft and street crime. Incidents of violent crime, including rape, occur. Visitors should be especially vigilant on the beaches at night. Visitors should try to secure valuables in a hotel safe and take care to always lock and secure hotel room doors and windows.

Information for Victims of Crime: The loss or theft abroad of a U.S. passport should be reported immediately to the local police and the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. If you are the victim of a crime while overseas, in addition to reporting to local police, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate for assistance. The Embassy/Consulate staff can, for example, assist you to find appropriate medical care, to contact family members or friends and explain how funds could be transferred. Although the investigation and prosecution of the crime is solely the responsibility of local authorities, consular officers can help you to understand the local criminal justice process and to find an attorney if needed. Posts in countries that have victims of crime assistance programs should include that information. See our information on Victims of Crime at http://travel.state.gov/travel/brochure_victim_assistance.html.

Medical Facilities and Health Information: Medical care is generally good, but medical transport can take hours to respond and ambulance attendants are prohibited from applying lifesaving techniques during transport. Minor problems requiring a visit to the emergency room can involve a wait of several hours; private clinics and physicians offer speedier service. Serious medical problems requiring hospitalization and/or medical evacuation to the United States can cost thousands of dollars. Doctors and hospitals often expect immediate cash payment for health services, and U.S. medical insurance is not always valid outside the United States. U.S. Medicare and Medicaid programs do not provide payment for medical services outside the United States.

Information on vaccinations and other health precautions, such as safe food and water precautions and insect bite protection, may be obtained from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's hotline for international travelers at 1-877-FYI-TRIP (1-877-394-8747); fax 1-888-CDC-FAXX (1-888-232-3299), or via the CDC's Internet site at http://www.cdc.gov/travel. For information about outbreaks of infectious diseases abroad consult the World Health Organization's (WHO) web-site at http://www.who.int/en. Further health information for travelers is available at http://www.who.int/ith.

Medical Insurance: The Department of State strongly urges Americans to consult with their medical insurance company prior to traveling abroad to confirm whether their policy applies overseas and whether it will cover emergency expenses such as a medical evacuation.

Traffic Safety and Road Conditions: While in a foreign country, U.S. citizens may encounter road conditions that differ significantly from those in the United States. The information below concerning Barbados is provided for general reference only, and may not be totally accurate in a particular location or circumstance.

Driving in Barbados is on the left-hand side of the road. Taxis and buses are generally safe. Buses and vans and small buses are often crowded and tend to travel at high rates of speed. Night driving should be done with caution because of narrow roads with no shoulders and pedestrian/bicycle traffic.

For specific information concerning Barbados driving permits, vehicle inspection, road tax and mandatory insurance, contact the Barbados Tourism Authority at (212) 986-6516, http://www.barbados.org.

Aviation Safety Oversight: As there is no direct commercial air service between the United States and Barbados, the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has not assessed Barbados' Civil Aviation Authority for compliance with ICAO international aviation safety standards. For more information, travelers may visit the FAA's internet web site at http://www.faa.gov/avr/iasa/index.cfm.

Special Circumstances: All Caribbean countries can be affected by hurricanes. The hurricane season normally runs from June to the end of November, but there have been hurricanes in December in recent years. General information about natural disaster preparedness is available via the Internet from the U.S. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) at http://www.fema.gov/.

Criminal Penalties: While in a foreign country, a U.S. citizen is subject to that country's laws and regulations, which sometimes differ significantly from those in the United States and may not afford the protections available to the individual under U.S. law. Penalties for breaking the law can be more severe than in the United States for similar offences. Persons violating Barbados' laws, even unknowingly, may be expelled, arrested or imprisoned. Penalties for possession, use, or trafficking in illegal drugs in Barbados are severe, and convicted offenders can expect long jail sentences and heavy fines. Engaging in illicit sexual conduct with children or using or disseminating child pornography in a foreign country is a crime, prosecutable in the United States.

Children's Issues: For information on international adoption of children and international parental child abduction, see the Office of Children's Issues website at http://travel.state.gov/family/index.html.

Registration/Embassy Location: Americans living or traveling in Barbados are encouraged to register with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate through the State Department's travel registration website, https://travelregistration.state.gov, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Barbados. Americans without Internet access may register directly with the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate. By registering, American citizens make it easier for the Embassy or Consulate to contact them in case of emergency. The U.S. Embassy is located in the First Caribbean International Bank Building on Broad Street, telephone 1-246-436-4950, website http://bridgetown.usembassy.gov/. The Consular Section is located in the American Life Insurance Company (ALICO) Building, Cheapside, telephone 1-246-431-0225 or fax 1-246-431-0179, website http://bridgetown.usembassy.gov. Hours of operation are 8:30-11:30 a.m. and 1:00-2:00 p.m. Monday-Friday, except Barbados and U.S. holidays.

views updated

Barbados

1 Location and Size

2 Topography

3 Climate

4 Plants and Animals

5 Environment

6 Population

7 Migration

8 Ethnic Groups

9 Languages

10 Religions

11 Transportation

12 History

13 Government

14 Political Parties

15 Judicial System

16 Armed Forces

17 Economy

18 Income

19 Industry

20 Labor

21 Agriculture

22 Domesticated Animals

23 Fishing

24 Forestry

25 Mining

26 Foreign Trade

27 Energy and Power

28 Social Development

29 Health

30 Housing

31 Education

32 Media

33 Tourism and Recreation

34 Famous Barbadians

35 Bibliography

CAPITAL: Bridgetown

FLAG: The national flag has three equal vertical bands of ultramarine blue, gold, and ultramarine blue and displays a broken trident in black on the center stripe.

ANTHEM: National Anthem of Barbados, beginning “In plenty and in time of need, when this fair land was young....”

MONETARY UNIT: Officially introduced on 3 December 1973, the Barbados dollar (bds$) of 100 cents is a paper currency officially pegged to the U.S. dollar. There are coins of 1, 5, 10, and 25 cents and 1 dollar, and notes of 1, 2, 5, 10, 20, 50, and 100 dollars. bds$1 = us$0.50000 (or us$1 = bds$2; as of 2004).

WEIGHTS AND MEASURES: The metric system is used.

HOLIDAYS: New Year’s Day, 1 January; Errol Barrow Day, 23 January; May Day, 1 May; Kadooment Day, first Monday in August; CARICOM Day, 1 August; UN Day, first Monday in October; Independence Day, 30 November; Christmas Day, 25 December; Boxing Day, 26 December. Movable religious holidays are Good Friday, Easter Monday, and Whitmonday.

TIME: 8 am = noon GMT.

1 Location and Size

Barbados is the most easterly of the Caribbean islands. Barbados has an area of 431 square kilometers (166 square miles), slightly less than 2.5 times the area of Washington, D.C. The country has a total coastline of 101 kilometers (63 miles). The capital, Bridgetown, is located on the country’s southwestern coast.

2 Topography

The coast is almost entirely encircled by coral reefs. The only natural harbor is Carlisle Bay on the southwest coast. The land rises to 336 meters (1,102 feet) at Mount Hillaby in the parish of Saint Andrew. In most other areas, the land falls in a series of terraces to a coastal strip or wide flat area. The lowest point is at sea level (Atlantic Ocean).

GEOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Geographic Features

Area: 431 sq km (166 sq mi)

Size ranking: 183 of 194

Highest elevation: 336 meters (1,102 feet) at Mount Hillaby

Lowest elevation: Sea level at the Atlantic Ocean

Land Use*

Arable land: 37%

Permanent crops: 2%

Other: 61%

Weather**

Average annual precipitation: 127.3 centimeters (50.1 inches)

Average temperature in January: 25.2°c (77.4°f)

Average temperature in July: 26.8°c (80.2°f)

* Arable Land: Land used for temporary crops, like meadows for mowing or pasture, gardens, and greenhouses.

Permanent crops: Land cultivated with crops that occupy its use for long periods, such as cocoa, coffee, rubber, fruit and nut orchards, and vineyards.

Other: Any land not specified, including built-on areas, roads, and barren land.

** The measurements for precipitation and average temperatures were taken at weather stations closest to the country’s largest city.

Precipitation and average temperature can vary significantly within a country, due to factors such as latitude, altitude, coastal proximity, and wind patterns.

3 Climate

The tropical climate is tempered by an almost constant sea breeze. Temperatures range from 21 to 30°c (70 to 86°f). Annual rainfall ranges from about 100 centimeters (40 inches) to 230 centimeters (90 inches).

4 Plants and Animals

Palms, casuarina, mahogany, and almond trees are found on the island, but no large forest areas exist, most of the level ground having been turned over to sugarcane. The wide variety of flowers and shrubs includes wild roses, carnations, lilies, and several cacti. Natural wildlife is restricted to a few mammals and birds; finches, blackbirds, and moustache birds are common.

5 Environment

Soil erosion and coastal pollution from oil slicks are among the most significant environmental problems. The government of Barbados created a marine reserve to protect its coastline in 1980. As of 2000, the most pressing environmental problems resulted from the uncontrolled handling of solid wastes, which contaminate the water supply. Barbados is also affected by air and water pollution from other countries in the area. Despite its pollution problems, 100% of Barbados’s urban and rural populations have safe water.

The Barbados yellow warbler, Eskimo curlew, tundra peregrine falcon, and Orinoco crocodile are endangered species. In addition, one plant species is considered endangered. The Barbados raccoon has become extinct.

6 Population

The population in 2005 was estimated at 258,000. The projected population for the year 2025 is 272,000. The population density was 625 persons per square kilometer (1,619 persons per square mile). Barbados is one of the most densely populated countries in the Western hemisphere. Bridgetown, the capital, and its suburbs had a population of about 140,000 in 2005.

7 Migration

To meet the problem of overpopulation, the government encourages emigration. Most emigrants now resettle in the Caribbean region or along the eastern U.S. coast. As of 2004, Barbados had a refugee population of only nine people. The estimated net migration rate for Barbados in 2005 was -0.31 migrants per 1,000 population.

8 Ethnic Groups

About 90% of all Barbadians (also called Bajans) are the descendants of former African slaves. Some 4% are of European descent and 6% are Asian or mixed heritage.

9 Languages

English, the official language, is spoken universally, with local pronunciations.

10 Religions

Christianity is the dominant religion. About 67% of the total population is Protestant, with about 40% Anglican, 8% Pentecostal, 7% Methodist, and 12% of various other denominations including Moravian, Seventh-day Adventist, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Baptist, and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Roman Catholics make up approximately 4% of the population, 17% claim no religious affiliation, and about 12% profess other faiths, including Islam, Baha’i, Judaism, Hinduism, and Rastafarianism.

11 Transportation

The highway system had a total length of 1,600 kilometers (995 miles) in 2003. There were 66,900 passenger cars and 13,200 commercial vehicles registered in 2003. Barbados is served through Grantley Adams International Airport by 14 international airlines and one local airline.

BIOGRAPHICAL PROFILE

Name: Owen Arthur

Position: Prime minister of a parliamentary democracy

Took Office: 6 September 1994, reelected in 2003 for a third term

Birthplace: Barbados

Birthdate: 17 October 1949

Education: Harrison College; University of the West Indies (UWI), bachelors degree in economics

Spouse: Julie Ann Price

Of interest: He is the first and only professional economist to become prime minister in the English-speaking Caribbean.

There is a deepwater harbor at Bridgetown, with docking facilities for cruise ships and freighters. In 2005, Barbados had a merchant fleet of 58 ships of 1,000 gross registered tons or over.

12 History

When the British landed on Barbados in 1625, the island was uninhabited. Almost 2,000 English settlers landed in 1627 and 1628. Soon afterward, the island developed a sugar-based economy, supported by a slave population. Slavery was abolished in 1834, and the last slaves were freed in 1838.

During the following one hundred years, the economic fortunes of Barbados rose and fell with alternating booms and slumps in the sugar trade. In the 1930s, the dominance of plantation owners and merchants was challenged by a labor movement. The gradual introduction of social and political reforms led to the granting of universal adult suffrage in 1950.

The island was proclaimed an independent republic on 30 November 1966. Political stability has been maintained since that time. In 1973, the nation began issuing its own currency. The country was a staging area in October 1983 for the U.S.-led invasion of Grenada, in which Barbadian troops took part.

Laws enacted in the early 1980s led to the development of Barbados as an offshore business center. The international recession of the early

1990s negatively affected the economy, which led to a lack of support for the government. In June 1994, Prime Minister Erskine Sandiford dissolved the House of Assembly, the first time since independence that such an action had been taken.

Economic recovery in the mid-to-late 1990s helped Prime Minister Owen S. Arthur lead the Barbados Labor Party (BLP) to a landslide victory in the 1999 elections, as the country prepared for the launch of a single CARICOM economic market in the Caribbean in 2005. Owen’s BLP retained control of 23 seats in the 30-seat House of Assembly following the May 2003 elections.

13 Government

Barbados has a crown-appointed governor-general (who in turn appoints an advisory Privy Council) and independent executive, legislative, and judicial bodies. The two-chamber legislature consists of a 21-member appointed Senate and a 30-member elected House of Assembly. Voting is universal at age 18. The governor-general appoints as prime minister a member of the House of Assembly. The country is divided into 11 parishes and the city of Bridgetown for electoral and administrative purposes, but local governments were abolished in 1969.

Yearly Growth Rate

This economic indicator tells by what percent the economy has increased or decreased when compared with the previous year.

14 Political Parties

The leading parties are the Barbados Labor Party (BLP), the Democratic Labor Party (DLP), and the National Democratic Party (NDP). The BLP swept the May 2003 elections, winning 23 of the 30 House seats, while the DLP claimed only 7 seats. The next elections were scheduled to take place in 2008.

15 Judicial System

The Supreme Court of Judicature sits as a high court and court of appeal. Magistrate courts have both civil and criminal jurisdiction. Final appeals are brought to the Committee of Her Majesty’s Privy Council in the United Kingdom.

In 2003, Caribbean leaders met in Jamaica to establish a Caribbean Court of Justice (CCJ) to hear many of the cases formerly brought to the Privy Council in the United Kingdom. Barbados was one of the eight nations that approved the CCJ.

16 Armed Forces

In 2005, the Barbados Defense Force included 610 active troops and 430 reserves, of which 500 were in the army and 110 in the navy. The defense budget was us$14 million in 2005.

17 Economy

The economy has traditionally been dependent on the production of sugar, rum, and molasses. In recent years, however, tourism and manufacturing have surpassed the sugar industry in importance.

Barbados was in an economic recession from 1990 to 1994. However, from 1994 through 2000, the gross domestic product (GDP) grew an average of 3.4% annually, reaching 5% in 2000.

In 2001 however, tourism declined following the 11 September 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States and with the global economic slowdown that had already taken hold, the Barbadian economy experienced its first contraction (-2% in 2001 and -3% in 2002) after eight straight years of growth. But in 2003 and 2004, the economy began to improve as tourism recovered. In 2004 GDP grew by 3.4%, followed by 4% in 2005.

18 Income

In 2005, Barbados’ gross domestic product (GDP) was estimated at us$4.8 billion, or us$17,300 per person. The annual growth rate of the GDP was estimated at 4%. The average inflation rate in 2004 was 2.4%.

Components of the Economy

This pie chart shows how much of the country’s economy is devoted to agriculture (including forestry, hunting, and fishing), industry, or services.

19 Industry

Traditionally, sugar production and related enterprises were Barbados’ primary industry, but tourism, light industry, along with a growing off-shore banking, and financial services sector have become more important. Items manufactured for export include rum, electrical equipment, small manufactures, pharmaceuticals, printed materials, pesticides, and disinfectants.

20 Labor

The total labor force as of 2001 was 128,500. In 1996, services accounted for an estimated 75% of the labor force; industry, 15%; and agriculture, 10%. Unemployment, traditionally high, was reported at 10.7% in 2003. The legal minimum working age is 16. About 19% of the workforce was unionized in 2005.

21 Agriculture

About 37% of the total land area is arable (suitable for farming). In 2004, a total of 361,200 tons of sugarcane were produced which was down from an average of 584,000 tons per year from 1989 through 1991. In 2004, sugar exports amounted to us$22 million, or 8% of total exports. Major food crops are yams, sweet potatoes, corn, eddo, cassava, and several varieties of beans. Some cotton is also grown.

22 Domesticated Animals

The island must import large quantities of meat and dairy products. Most livestock is owned by individual households. Estimates for 2004 show 9,000 head of cattle, 13,500 sheep, 18,500 hogs, 5,100 goats, and 3,370,000 chickens. Poultry production in 2004 included 13,300 tons of meat and 1,928 tons of hen eggs annually.

23 Fishing

The fishing industry employs about 2,000 persons and consists of more than 500 powered boats. The catch in 2003 was 2,500 metric tons. Flying fish, dolphinfish, tuna, turbot, king-fish, and swordfish are among the main species caught. There is a fisheries terminal complex at Oistins.

24 Forestry

There are an estimated 5,000 hectares (12,350 acres) of forested land, covering about 12% of the total land area. Roundwood production in 2003 totaled 5,000 cubic meters (176,500 cubic feet) and imports amounted to 5,000 cubic meters (176,000 cubic feet). Also in 2003, Barbados imported us$25.9 million in wood and forest products.

Yearly Balance of Trade

The balance of trade is the difference between what a country sells to other countries (its exports) and what it buys (its imports). If a country imports more than it exports, it has a negative balance of trade (a trade deficit). If exports exceed imports there is a positive balance of trade (a trade surplus).

25 Mining

Deposits of limestone and coral are quarried to meet local construction needs. Production of limestone in 2003 amounted to 1.23 million metric tons. Clays and shale, sand and gravel, and carbonaceous deposits provided limited yields. Hydraulic cement production totaled an estimated 330,000 metric tons in 2002.

26 Foreign Trade

Main exports include sugar, honey, and sugar-processing byproducts (including molasses and rum), electrical equipment, medications, printed matter, and pesticides and disinfectants. Barbados’s main imports were foodstuffs, fuel, consumer goods, machinery, construction materials, and chemicals. Main trading partners

in 2004 were the United States, Trinidad and Tobago, the United Kingdom, and Jamaica. In 2004, imports totaled us$1.413 billion.

27 Energy and Power

Electricity production in 2002 totaled 800 million kilowatt hours. Oil accounts for about 95% of energy usage. Crude oil production in 2004 was about 1,000 barrels per day. Natural gas production was 1 billion cubic feet in 2003.

28 Social Development

A national social security system provides old age and survivors’ pensions, as well as sickness, disability, maternity, and employment injury benefits. A domestic violence law requires a police

Selected Social Indicators

The statistics below are the most recent estimates available as of 2006. For comparison purposes, data for the United States and averages for low-income countries and high-income countries are also given. About 15% of the world’s 6.5 billion people live in high-income countries, while 37% live in low-income countries.

IndicatorBarbados Low-income countriesHigh-income countriesUnited States
sources: World Bank. World Development Indicators. Washington, D.C.: The World Bank, 2006; Central Intelligence Agency. The World Factbook. Washington, D.C.: Government Printing Office, 2006; World Resources Institute, Washington, D.C.
Per capita gross national income (GNI)*$15,700 $2,258$31,009$39,820
Population growth rate0.4% 2%0.8%1.2%
People per square kilometer of land625 803032
Life expectancy in years: male71 587675
female75 608280
Number of physicians per 1,000 people1.2 0.43.72.3
Number of pupils per teacher (primary school)n.a. 431615
Literacy rate (15 years and older)99% 65%>95%99%
Television sets per 1,000 people363 84735938
Internet users per 1,000 people554 28538630
Energy consumed per capita (kg of oil equivalent)n.a. 5015,4107,843
CO2 emissions per capita (metric tons)5.11 0.8512.9719.92
* The GNI is the total of all goods and services produced by the residents of a country in a year. The per capita GNI is calculated by dividing a country’s GNI by its population and adjusting for relative purchasing power.
n.a.: data not available >: greater than <: less than

response to violence against women and children. The government has also formed the Child Care Board to monitor and protect the rights of children.

29 Health

Barbados has a national health service. As of 1990, 100% of the population has access to health care services. In 2004 there were 120 doctors, 23 dentists, and 13 nurses per 100,000 people. Life expectancy in 2005 was 72.5 years. The infant mortality rate was 11.72 per 1,000 live births in 2005. In 2004, the number of people living with human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS) was estimated at 2,500 and deaths from AIDS were estimated at 200.

The Barbados Housing Authority constructs housing projects and redevelops overcrowded areas. At the last estimate, 90% of all housing consisted of detached homes and more than 5% of apartments.

The government has been looking at new ways to help private owners finance land and home purchases. The government also put a new building code into effect to improve existing structures, focusing particularly on renovations that could prevent destruction from hurricanes.

31 Education

Primary education begins at the age of five. Secondary education begins at the age of eleven and lasts for five to six years. Education is compulsory for children between the ages of five and sixteen. The education program in Barbados is administered by the Ministry of Education and is free in all government-run schools. As of 2000, children in 93 government primary schools numbered 26,900. A small number attend private primary schools. Secondary education was provided in 22 government secondary schools, 15 assisted private schools, and 7 senior schools for students ages 14 to 16. Scholarships are awarded for study in the United Kingdom and in Caribbean institutions.

The Barbados branch of the University of the West Indies opened at Cave Hill in 1963. It has over 250 teachers and more than 2,000 students. The government pays the fees of all Barbadian students at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of West Indies. The Barbados Community College was established in 1968.

There is also advanced education for adults at the Extramural Center of the University of West Indies, the Erdiston Teachers Training College, and the Samuel Jackman Prescod Polytechnic. There are special schools for the deaf, blind, and mentally retarded, including two residential institutions for disabled persons.

Barbados’s adult literacy rate in 2004 was estimated at 99%.

32 Media

There were about 134,000 mainline telephones in use as of 2003, with an additional 140,000 mobile phones.

Barbados has a government-controlled television and radio broadcasting service (the Caribbean Broadcasting System/CBS) and a commercial service that broadcasts over a cable network. In 2004, there were nine radio stations, three of which were owned by CBS. The country’s only television station is also owned by CBS. In 1997, there were about 237,000 radios and 76,000 television sets in use throughout the country.

There are two major daily newspapers (both independently operated in Bridgetown), the Advocate (circulation 15,000 in 2002) and the Daily Nation (32,000), as well as some periodicals, including a monthly magazine, the New Bajan.

The constitution of Barbados provides for freedom of expression and the government is said to uphold freedom of speech and press. The government does, however, prohibit the production of pornographic materials.

33 Tourism and Recreation

Barbados, with its fine beaches, sea bathing, and pleasant climate, has long been a popular holiday retreat. In 2003, a total of about 531,000 tourists visited Barbados. Tourist spending was an estimated us$711 million in 2000. There were 6,210 hotel rooms with a 49% occupancy rate. Cricket is the national sport, followed by surfing, sailing, and other water sports.

34 Famous Barbadians

Sir Grantley Adams (1898–1971) was premier of the Federation of the West Indies (1958–62). Erskine Sandiford (1938– ) was prime minister from 1987 until 1994. Barbados-born Edwin Barclay (1882–1955) was president of Liberia from 1930 to 1944. George Lamming (1927– ) is a well-known West Indian novelist. Sir Garfield Sobers (1936– ) has gained renown as the “world’s greatest cricketer.”

35 Bibliography

BOOKS

Beckles, Hilary. A History of Barbados: From Amerindian Settlement to Nation-State. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1990.

Broberg, Merle. Barbados. Philadelphia, PA: Chelsea House, 1999.

Elias, Marie Louise. Barbados. New York: Marshall Cavendish, 2000.

Kinas, Roxan. Barbados. Maspeth, NY: APA, 2002.

Orr, Tamra. Barbados. Philadelphia, PA: Mason Crest Publishers, 2004.

Philpott, Don. Barbados. Edison, NJ: Hunter Pub., 2000.

WEB SITES

Aquastat. www.fao.org/ag/Agl/AGLW/aquastat/countries/barbados/index.stm. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Commonwealth Country Profiles. www.thecommonwealth.org/Templates/YearbookHomeInternal.asp?NodeID=138208. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Country Pages. www.state.gov/p/wha/ci/bb/. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

Government Home Page. www.bgis.gov.bb. (accessed on January 15, 2007).

More From Encyclopedia.com


MORE ON THIS TOPIC