Prime Minister of Barbados
|Prime Minister of Barbados|
|Style||The Right Honourable|
|Term length||Five years|
|Inaugural holder||Errol Barrow|
|Formation||30 November 1966|
|This article is part of a series on the
politics and government of
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.
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
|“||I, _________________________, being appointed Prime Minister, do swear that I will to the best of my judgment, at all times when so required, freely give my counsel and advice to the Governor-General (or any other person for the time being lawfully performing the functions of that office) for the good management of the public affairs of Barbados, and I do further swear that I will not on any account, at any time whatsoever, disclose the counsel, advice, opinion or vote of any particular Minister or Parliamentary Secretary and that I will not, except with the authority of the Cabinet and to such extent as may be required for the good management of the affairs of Barbados, directly or indirectly reveal the business or proceedings of the Cabinet or the nature or contents of any documents communicated to me as Prime Minister or any matter coming to my knowledge in my capacity as such, and that in all things I will be a true and faithful Prime Minister. So help me God.||”|
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
- Prime Ministers of Queen Elizabeth II
- List of Commonwealth Heads of Government
- Politics of Barbados
- Ilaro Court
- Prime Minister of the West Indies Federation
- List of Governors-General of Barbados
- List of Privy Counsellors (1952–present)