Barbados Public Policy

North America

Current policy

Barbados is a country located in the region of North America. The Democratic Workers’ Party (DLP) has been ruling Barbados since 2008. The party managed to retain the government’s power in the 2013 elections by a marginal margin.

In the February 2013 parliamentary elections, DLP won just over 52 percent of the vote against just under 48 for the Barbados Workers’ Party (BLP). Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, who has succeeded DLP leader David Thompson as head of government in 2010 since he died of cancer, became only 48 years old.

The re-election was unexpected when opinion polls indicated that BLP would regain power. The DLP government took office in the midst of the world economy crisis, which hit hard on tourism-dependent Barbados. DLP was therefore forced during its first term to implement unpopular austerity measures such as increased VAT and energy tax and increased prices for bus tickets. BLP promised in its election campaign to stimulate the economy, but thus failed to convince voters.

Prime Minister Stuart said after the election victory that the government’s policy was firm, despite the strained economic situation. However, international credit rating agencies have continued to lower the country’s credit rating, which means that it has become more expensive and more difficult for Barbados to borrow money.

Following the election, Owen Arthur resigned as leader of the BLP and was succeeded by lawyer Mia Mottley. The following year, Arthur left the party and became politically savage in parliament. Internal fragmentation also led to a member of parliament being excluded from the BLP at the end of 2015. Internal contradictions also occurred in the DLP where, among other things, the Minister of Agriculture criticized his own government for the fisheries policy being pursued.

Crime, not least against foreign tourists, continues to be a problem for the government. Several incidents contributed to Canada, the United Kingdom and the United States issuing travel warnings regarding Barbados at the end of 2015 due to the increase in violent crime.


In 2016, the government received criticism both in connection with a strike action at the international airport and because of the handling of a waste incineration plant. Since two credit rating agencies once again lowered Barbados credit rating, the opposition cast a vote of no confidence, but it was voted down by 16 votes to 12.


Official name



monarchy, unitary state

Head of State

Queen Elizabeth II

Head of government

Freundel Stuart (2010–)

Most important parties with mandates in the last election

Democratic Workers ‘Party (DLP) 16, Barbados Workers’ Party (BLP) 14 (2013)

Main parties with mandates in the second most recent elections

Democratic Workers ‘Party (DLP) 20, Barbados Workers’ Party (BLP) 10 (2008)


about 60% in the 2013 parliamentary elections

Upcoming elections

parliamentary elections by 2018