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Prime Minister of Barbados

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Title: Prime Minister of Barbados  
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Subject: Government of Barbados, David Thompson (Barbadian politician), Freundel Stuart, Foreign relations of Barbados, Monarchy of Barbados
Collection: Prime Ministers of Barbados
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Prime Minister of Barbados

Prime Minister of Barbados
Freundel Stuart

since 23 October 2010
Style The Right Honourable
Term length Five years
Inaugural holder Errol Barrow
Formation 30 November 1966

The Prime Minister of Barbados is the head of government of Barbados. The Prime Minister is appointed by Elizabeth II, Queen of Barbados (represented by the Governor-General) under the terms of the 1966 Constitution. As the nominal holder of executive authority, the Governor-General holds responsibility for conducting parliamentary elections, and for proclaiming one of electors as Prime Minister.

As a former British colony, Barbados has largely adopted British political models and follows the Westminster or Cabinet, system of government, in which the executive branch of government is responsible to the legislature. The Prime Minister is appointed by the Governor-General, if the Prime Minister dies, as has happened on three occasions, the Governor-General will appoint a replacement from parliament to serve the remainder of the five-year term of Parliament. The Prime Minister must also be supported, or at least accepted, by a majority in the House of Assembly. If at any time the Prime Minister loses the "confidence" of the House, he must resign, along with the entire Cabinet. In practice, this usually reduces the Prime Minister's appointment to a formality, as the parliamentary leader of the majority political party or coalition is invariably appointed. If, however, no such majority party or coalition exists, whether due to electoral fragmentation or to party realignments after an election, the Governor-General's role becomes much more important. The Governor-General must endeavour to find a candidate acceptable to a majority in the House; if no such candidate can be found, the Governor-General must dissolve Parliament and call an election prematurely. Should the incumbent Prime Minister lose their seat in a parliamentary election they also may not be Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister of Barbados is technically the "first among equals," whose vote in meetings of the Cabinet carries no greater weight than that of any other minister. In practice, the Prime Minister dominates the government. Other Ministers are appointed by the Governor-General, but on the Prime Minister's advice, and may be dismissed by him at any time (although his control over ministerial appointments may be tempered by the realities of coalition politics: the leader or leaders of coalition partners may insist on having a say in the matter too).

Sir Grantley Herbert Adams was appointed Barbados's first Premier on 1 February 1953 when Barbados attained full self-government. When Barbados negotiated full political independence from Britain on 30 November 1966, the office was renamed Prime Minister. Despite the renaming, the functions of the office were not significantly changed, and the table below therefore counts Sir Grantley's term as Premier as part of the Prime Ministerial overview. There have been 3 premiers and 8 post-independence Prime Ministers. The current living former Prime Ministers of Barbados are: The Rt. Hon. Lloyd Erskine Sandiford and The Rt. Hon. Owen Arthur.


  • Responsibilities 1
  • List of Prime Ministers 2
  • Official oath of office 3
  • British Privy Council 4
  • Quasi-Cabinet of the Caribbean Community 5
  • See also 6
  • External links 7


The Prime Minister advises the crown, appoints ministers, controls a majority in the House of Assembly, and appoints 12 senators. Although the Prime Minister is appointed by the Governor-General of Barbados, they are almost always the leader of the majority party.

List of Prime Ministers

Official oath of office

British Privy Council

Prior to the establishment of the Caribbean Court of Justice in 2005, it was common for Barbadian prime ministers to be nominated to the British Privy Council, whose large membership includes prominent British persons and persons from other Commonwealth nations that continue to share the same person as monarch.

Prime Ministers added to the Privy council (by year):

  • The Rt. Hon. Errol Barrow, 1969;
  • The Rt. Hon. Tom Adams, 1977;
  • The Rt. Hon. Lloyd Erskine Sandiford, 1989;
  • The Rt. Hon. Owen Arthur, 1995;
  • The Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart, 2014.

Quasi-Cabinet of the Caribbean Community

See also

External links

  • Barbados Elections
  • Leaders of Barbados
  • Rulers of Barbados - From settlement to present
  • Flag of the Prime Minister of Barbados

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