HistoryEstablished on 26 June 1639. The Parliament of Barbados is the third oldest legislature in the Americas (behind The Virginia House of Burgesses, and Bermuda House of Assembly), and is among the oldest in the Commonwealth of Nations. The genesis of a legislature in Barbados was introduced by Governor Henry Hawley, creating a structure of governance to Barbados, itself patterned after the Parliament of England). The then unicameral Parliament originally was tasked with establishing a system of laws and was completely under the domination of the island's planter-class. The first meeting of the Barbados Assembly was held in 1639. The initial location known as the "Sessions House" which was situated in the Marlhill, which is now known as Spry Street. Built by Captain Henry Hawley, the building may have originally accommodated his Courts of Law. (On 25 June 1989, a monument was unveiled to commemorate the site outside of the current Central Bank of Barbados, Central Bank.) By 1653, the Assembly moved to the State House then located in Bridgetown area known as Cheapside (then encompassing Broad Street). In 1668 the State House was destroyed by a great fire started by an explosion of the Bridgetown military magazine. Over the next century, the colony’s elected officials assembled at various locations all over Bridgetown, which were rented taverns and homes of local merchants and landlords. The Roebuck Tavern located on Roebuck Street was a favourite assembly point and was also owned by Henry Hawley. The movement of the Assembly among the various taverns in the town eventually presented an irony for the thriving colony. Governor Atkins, who was attending a meeting at Gwynn’s Tavern in 1674 commented, "I must confess I am a little astonished to see so honourable an Assembly to meet in a place so considerable as the island is, and have no house to receive us but a public tavern" (TOB 71). For many years the Barbados Assembly continued to meet in various places. In 1724 an Act was passed providing for a building for the Council and Assembly, Law Courts and gaol. The building located on Coleridge Street was completed in 1731-1732, yet the House of Assembly still often met at times at different private houses and taverns. The current The Public Buildings, Parliament Buildings were built in the neo-Gothic style in the early 1870s on the site of what was known as the "New Burnt District", which was part of a 10-acre area in the town that was destroyed by the great fire in 1860. In 1968 the Barbados Parliament was presented two complete libraries of Parliamentary and constitutional works of reference from the British House of Commons to celebrate political Independence with membership to the Commonwealth. The Parliament of Barbados in its current form was first introduced following the 1961 general elections. In 1963 the colonial era Legislative Council (Barbados), Legislative Council was disestablished. In its place came the Senate (Barbados), Senate in 1964 (due to Barbados' status as a colony of Great Britain). As the years went by, governance in Barbados continued to change in structure until both of the present chambers assumed their present numbers.
Legislative functionsParliament is empowered by Article 35(l) of the Constitution to make laws for the Peace, order, and good government of Barbados. The Constitution also empowers Parliament to: * Determine the privileges, immunities, and powers of the Senate and the House of Assembly and the members thereof; * alter or amend any of the provisions of the constitution;
Members in ParliamentAs of the Elections in Barbados, election held on Barbadian general election, 2018, 25 May 2018, the Barbados Labour Party won all 30 seats of the Assembly, reducing the Democratic Labour Party (Barbados), Democratic Labour Party's seats to zero. As is required under the Constitution of Barbados one (1) member must be appointed as Leader of the Opposition, Bishop Joseph J.S. Atherley voluntarily opted to be appointed as the Opposition in the current Parliament.
Election dateThe next general election in is constitutionally due on 24 May 2023. According to the Constitution of elections can take place no longer than every five years from the first sitting of Parliament.Constitution of Barbados, Constitution: Section 61 (3): "Subject to the provisions of subsection (4), Parliament, unless sooner dissolved, shall continue for five years from the date of its first sitting after any dissolution and shall then stand dissolved. (4) At any time when Barbados is at war, Parliament may extend the period of five years specified in subsection (3) for not more than twelve months at a time:" The last general election was held on 24 May 2018. The Constitution of Barbados also establishes that at any time before this date the Government of Barbados, Government in power may seek a new mandate from the electorate and may ask for the current sitting of Parliament be dissolved by the Governor General of Barbados, Governor General and allow for the announcement of a new date for General elections. The Governor General of Barbados may also announce a new date of General elections should the Prime Minister in power not survive a Motion of no confidence, vote of no confidence motion.
International affiliation(s)*ACP–EU Joint Parliamentary Assembly *Canada-CARICOM Parliamentary Friendship Group *Commonwealth Parliamentary Association *ParlAmericas *Parliamentarians for Global Action (PGA) *Pink Parliament, an initiative seeking to inspire & encourage more women to pursue careers in politics
Official Gazette / Hansard* ''Official Gazette (Barbados), The Official Gazette of Barbados''
See also* Constitution of Barbados * List of Parliamentary constituencies in Barbados * List of Speakers of the House of Assembly of Barbados * List of Presidents of the Legislative Council of Barbados * List of Presidents of the Senate of Barbados * List of Barbadian Members of Parliament * List of legislatures by country
Press coverage* *