Barbados [Country Flag of Barbados]
Transnational Issues
[Country map of Barbados]



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Location: Caribbean, island between the Caribbean Sea and the North Atlantic Ocean, northeast of Venezuela

Geographic coordinates: 13 10 N, 59 32 W

Map references: Central America and the Caribbean

total: 430 sq km
land: 430 sq km
water: 0 sq km

Area—comparative: 2.5 times the size of Washington, DC

Land boundaries: 0 km

Coastline: 97 km

Maritime claims:
exclusive economic zone: 200 nm
territorial sea: 12 nm

Climate: tropical; rainy season (June to October)

Terrain: relatively flat; rises gently to central highland region

Elevation extremes:
lowest point: Atlantic Ocean 0 m
highest point: Mount Hillaby 336 m

Natural resources: petroleum, fish, natural gas

Land use:
arable land: 37%
permanent crops: 0%
permanent pastures: 5%
forests and woodland: 12%
other: 46% (1993 est.)

Irrigated land: NA sq km

Natural hazards: infrequent hurricanes; periodic landslides

Environment—current issues: pollution of coastal waters from waste disposal by ships; soil erosion; illegal solid waste disposal threatens contamination of aquifers

Environment—international agreements:
party to: Climate Change, Desertification, Endangered Species, Hazardous Wastes, Law of the Sea, Marine Dumping, Ozone Layer Protection, Ship Pollution, Whaling
signed, but not ratified: Biodiversity

Geography—note: easternmost Caribbean island


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Population: 259,025 (July 1998 est.)

Age structure:
0-14 years: 23% (male 30,592; female 29,747)
15-64 years: 67% (male 84,725; female 87,730)
65 years and over: 10% (male 9,926; female 16,305) (July 1998 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.09% (1998 est.)

Birth rate: 14.92 births/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Death rate: 8.21 deaths/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Net migration rate: -5.86 migrant(s)/1,000 population (1998 est.)

Sex ratio:
at birth: 1.02 male(s)/female
under 15 years: 1.03 male(s)/female
15-64 years: 0.97 male(s)/female
65 years and over: 0.61 male(s)/female (1998 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 17.25 deaths/1,000 live births (1998 est.)

Life expectancy at birth:
total population: 74.79 years
male: 72.03 years
female: 77.62 years (1998 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.85 children born/woman (1998 est.)

noun: Barbadian(s)
adjective: Barbadian

Ethnic groups: black 80%, white 4%, other 16%

Religions: Protestant 67% (Anglican 40%, Pentecostal 8%, Methodist 7%, other 12%), Roman Catholic 4%, none 17%, unknown 3%, other 9% (1980)

Languages: English

definition: age 15 and over has ever attended school
total population: 97.4%
male: 98%
female: 96.8% (1995 est.)


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Country name:
conventional long form: none
conventional short form: Barbados

Data code: BB

Government type: parliamentary democracy

National capital: Bridgetown

Administrative divisions: 11 parishes; Christ Church, Saint Andrew, Saint George, Saint James, Saint John, Saint Joseph, Saint Lucy, Saint Michael, Saint Peter, Saint Philip, Saint Thomas
note: the city of Bridgetown may be given parish status

Independence: 30 November 1966 (from UK)

National holiday: Independence Day, 30 November (1966)

Constitution: 30 November 1966

Legal system: English common law; no judicial review of legislative acts

Suffrage: 18 years of age; universal

Executive branch:
chief of state: Queen ELIZABETH II of the UK (since 6 February 1952), represented by Governor General Sir Clifford Straughn HUSBANDS (since 1 June 1996)
head of government: Prime Minister Owen Seymour ARTHUR (since 6 September 1994); Deputy Prime Minister Billie MILLER (since 6 September 1994)
cabinet: Cabinet appointed by the governor general on the advice of the prime minister
elections: none; the queen is a hereditary monarch; governor general appointed by the queen; prime minister appointed by the governor general

Legislative branch: bicameral Parliament consists of the Senate (21-member body appointed by the governor general) and the House of Assembly (28 seats; members are elected by direct popular vote to serve five-year terms)
elections: House of Assembly—last held 6 September 1994 (next to be held by January 1999)
election results: House of Assembly—percent of vote by party—NA; seats by party - BLP 19, DLP 8, NDP 1

Judicial branch: Supreme Court of Judicature, judges are appointed by the Service Commissions for the Judicial and Legal Service

Political parties and leaders: Democratic Labor Party or DLP [David THOMPSON]; Barbados Labor Party or BLP [Owen ARTHUR]; National Democratic Party or NDP [Richard HAYNES]

Political pressure groups and leaders: Barbados Workers Union [Leroy TROTMAN]; People's Progressive Movement [Eric SEALY]; Workers' Party of Barbados [Dr. George BELLE]; Clement Payne Labor Union [David COMMISSIONG]

International organization participation: ACP, C, Caricom, CDB, ECLAC, FAO, G-77, IADB, IBRD, ICAO, ICFTU, ICRM, IFAD, IFC, IFRCS, ILO, IMF, IMO, Intelsat, Interpol, IOC, ISO (correspondent), ITU, LAES, NAM, OAS, OPANAL, UN, UNCTAD, UNESCO, UNIDO, UPU, WFTU, WHO, WIPO, WMO, WTrO

Diplomatic representation in the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador Courtney N. BLACKMAN
chancery: 2144 Wyoming Avenue NW, Washington, DC 20008
telephone: [1] (202) 939-9200
consulate(s) general: Coral Gables and New York
consulate(s): Los Angeles

Diplomatic representation from the US:
chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Deputy Chief of Mission Donald K. HOLM
embassy: Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce Building, Broad Street, Bridgetown
mailing address: P. O. Box 302, Bridgetown; FPO AA 34055
telephone: [1] (246) 436-4950
FAX: [1] (246) 429-5246

Flag description: three equal vertical bands of blue (hoist side), gold, and blue with the head of a black trident centered on the gold band; the trident head represents independence and a break with the past (the colonial coat of arms contained a complete trident)


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Economy—overview: Historically, the Barbadian economy had been dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities, but production in recent years has diversified into manufacturing and tourism. The start of the Port Charles Marina project in Speightstown helped the tourism industry continue to expand in 1996-97. The government continues its efforts to reduce the unacceptably high unemployment rate, encourage direct foreign investment, and privatize remaining state-owned enterprises.

GDP: purchasing power parity—$2.8 billion (1997 est.)

GDP—real growth rate: 3% (1997 est.)

GDP—per capita: purchasing power parity—$10,900 (1997 est.)

GDP—composition by sector:
agriculture: 7%
industry: 17%
services: 76% (1996 est.)

Inflation rate—consumer price index: 2.4% (1996)

Labor force:
total: 68,900 (1996)
by occupation: services 75%, industry 15%, agriculture 10% (1996 est.)

Unemployment rate: 16.2% (1996)

revenues: $600 million
expenditures: $645 million, including capital expenditures of $80 million (FY96/97 est.)

Industries: tourism, sugar, light manufacturing, component assembly for export

Industrial production growth rate: 0.8% (1996)

Electricity—capacity: 140,000 kW (1995)

Electricity—production: 591.5 million kWh (1996)

Electricity—consumption per capita: 2,145 kWh (1995)

Agriculture—products: sugarcane, vegetables, cotton

total value: $235 million (f.o.b., 1995)
commodities: sugar and molasses, rum, other foods and beverages, chemicals, electrical components, clothing
partners: US 15%, UK 15%, Trinidad and Tobago 9%, Windward Islands 8%

total value: $763 million (c.i.f., 1995)
commodities: consumer goods, machinery, foodstuffs, construction materials, chemicals, fuel, electrical components
partners: US 37%, Trinidad and Tobago 11%, UK 10%, Japan 7%

Debt—external: $359 million (December 1996)

Economic aid: $NA

Currency: 1 Barbadian dollar (Bds$) = 100 cents

Exchange rates: Barbadian dollars (Bds$) per US$1—2.0000 (fixed rate pegged to the dollar)

Fiscal year: 1 April—31 March


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Telephones: 87,343 (1991 est.)

Telephone system:
domestic: island wide automatic telephone system
international: satellite earth station—1 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); tropospheric scatter to Trinidad and Saint Lucia

Radio broadcast stations: AM 3, FM 2, shortwave 0

Radios: NA

Television broadcast stations: 2 (1 pay)

Televisions: 69,350 (1993 est.)


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Railways: 0 km

total: 1,640 km
paved: 1,573 km
unpaved: 67 km (1996 est.)

Ports and harbors: Bridgetown

Merchant marine:
total: 57 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 869,363 GRT/1,365,640 DWT
ships by type: bulk 15, cargo 30, container 1, combination bulk 4, multifunction large-load carrier 1, oil tanker 4, refrigerated cargo 1, roll-on/roll-off cargo 1
note: a flag of convenience registry; includes ships of 2 countries: Canada owns 2 ships, Hong Kong 1 (1997 est.)

Airports: 1 (1997 est.)

Airports—with paved runways:
total: 1
over 3,047 m: 1 (1997 est.)


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Military branches: Royal Barbados Defense Force (includes Ground Forces and Coast Guard), Royal Barbados Police Force

Military manpower—availability:
males age 15-49: 71,891 (1998 est.)

Military manpower—fit for military service:
males: 49,562 (1998 est.)

Military expenditures—dollar figure: $NA

Military expenditures—percent of GDP: NA%

Transnational Issues

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Disputes—international: none

Illicit drugs: one of many Caribbean transshipment points for narcotics bound for the US and Europe