General Information

Barbados is an eastern Caribbean island and an independent British Commonwealth nation. Bridgetown, the capital, is a cruise-ship port with colonial buildings and Nidhe Israel, a synagogue founded in 1654. Around the island are beaches, botanical gardens, the Harrison’s Cave formation, and 17th-century plantation houses like St. Nicholas Abbey. Local traditions include afternoon tea and cricket, the national sport.

Population

The 2010 national census conducted by the Barbados Statistical Service reported a resident population of 277,821, of which 133,018 were male and 144,803 were female.

Political Structure

Barbados has been an independent country since 30 November 1966. It functions as a constitutional monarchy and parliamentary democracy modelled on the British Westminster system. The British and Barbadian monarch—Queen Elizabeth II—is head of state and is represented locally by the Governor-General of Barbados—presently Elliott Belgrave. Both are advised on matters of the Barbadian state by the Prime Minister of Barbados, who is head of government. There are 30 representatives within the House of Assembly.

Infrastructure and Economy

Barbados is the 53rd richest country in the world in terms of GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita, has a well-developed mixed economy, and a moderately high standard of living. According to the World Bank, Barbados is classified as being in its 66 top high income economies of the world. A 2012 self-study in conjunction with the Caribbean Development Bank revealed 20% of Barbadians live in poverty, and nearly 10% cannot meet their basic daily food needs.

Languages

English is the official language of Barbados, and is used for communications, administration, and public services all over the island.

Currency

Barbadian dollar

Exchange Control

There are no foreign exchange controls or restrictions on the repatriation of capital from Barbados.