The Parliament of Barbados is the national legislature of
Barbados Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies, in the Caribbean region of North America, and the most easterly of the Caribbean Islands. It is in length and up to in width, covering an area of . It is in the weste ...

. It is accorded legislative supremacy by Chapter V of the Constitution of Barbados.
Constitution A constitution is an aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity, organisation An organization, or organisation ( Commonwealth English; see spelling differences), is an ...
, Chapter V, Part 1; Section 35
The Parliament is
bicameral Bicameralism is the practice of having a legislature divided into two separate Deliberative assembly, assemblies, chambers, or houses, known as a bicameral legislature. Bicameralism is distinguished from unicameralism, in which all members deli ...
in composition and is formally made up of:
Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom and 15 other Commonwealth realms. Elizabeth was born in Mayfair, London, as the first child of the Duke and Duchess of York (later King George VI a ...

Elizabeth II
, Queen of Barbados (represented by the Governor-General), an appointed
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...

( Upper house), and an elected
House of Assembly House of Assembly is a name given to the legislature A legislature is a deliberative assembly with the authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, so ...
Lower house A lower house is one of two chambers of a bicameral legislature, the other chamber being the upper house. Despite its official position "below" the upper house, in many legislatures worldwide, the lower house has come to wield more power or oth ...
). Both houses sit in separate chambers in the Parliament Buildings (commonly known as "The Public Buildings"), in the national capital
Bridgetown Bridgetown (UN/LOCODE: BB BGI) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Barbados. Formerly The Town of Saint Michael, the Greater Bridgetown area is located within the Parishes of Barbados, parish of Saint Michael, Barbados, Saint Mich ...

in Saint Michael. The Senate is made up of twenty-one Senators, while the House consists of thirty Member of Parliament, Members of Parliament (MPs) in addition to the Honourable Speaker of the House. Members to serve in the Cabinet of Barbados may be chosen by the Prime Minister from either the House of Assembly or Senate, (the Prime Minister alone who must be chosen by the Governor-General must come from the House of Assembly.) In theory, supreme legislative power is vested in the Queen-in-Parliament; in practice during modern times, real power is vested in the House of Assembly, as the Governor-General generally acts on the advice of the Prime Minister and the powers of the Senate have been limited. The Parliament of Barbados is originally patterned after the Parliament of England, so the structure, functions, and procedures of the parliament are based on the Westminster system of government. Sittings of both House and Senate are usually held once per month, with other meetings called as necessary. The House sits on Tuesdays beginning at 10:30am, and are broadcast live on the local radio station, Quality FM (Barbados), Quality 100.7 FM. Sittings of the Senate take place on Wednesdays. As of February 2020 the government has been renting various private buildings around Barbados, including the Worthing Corporate Centre and Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre, Conference Centre (on Sep 15, 2020 for the State Opening of Parliament) to host Parliament without any firm return date mentioned as too when it might return to using the capital site.


Established 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 functions

Parliament 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;

Enactment clause

Members in Parliament

As 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 date

The next general election in
Barbados Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies, in the Caribbean region of North America, and the most easterly of the Caribbean Islands. It is in length and up to in width, covering an area of . It is in the weste ...

is constitutionally due on 24 May 2023. According to the Constitution of
Barbados Barbados is an island country in the Lesser Antilles of the West Indies, in the Caribbean region of North America, and the most easterly of the Caribbean Islands. It is in length and up to in width, covering an area of . It is in the weste ...

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 politicsPink Parliament
on Facebook

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


External links


The Parliament of Barbados
- official website
History of the Parliament of Barbados
- Parliament of Barbados website
Laws of Barbados
- Parliament
Parliament of Barbados profile
- Secretariat of the Caribbean, Americas and Atlantic Region of the CPA

Press coverage

* *


Barbados Government Information Network
- official website *   – Government of Barbados {{DEFAULTSORT:Parliament Of Barbados Parliament of Barbados, 1639 establishments in the British Empire Politics of Barbados Political organisations based in Barbados National legislatures, Barbados Bicameral legislatures, Barbados Parliaments by country, Barbados Westminster system parliaments, Barbados