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Brief History - Barbados


History of the form of Government

The form of Government in Barbados between 1627 and 1639 was Crown Colony Government which comprised; a Governor, a Legislative Council and House of Assembly (established in 1639). The Legislative Council was a nominated body, of nine (9) members, appointed by the Crown on the Governor’s recommendation and the Assembly was an elected body initially comprising two (2) representatives from each of the eleven (11) parishes. In 1843 the Assembly increased to twenty-four (24) with the introduction of two (2) representatives for Bridgetown. From 1660 until 1901 the life of the Assembly was two (2) years, in 1937 it was extended to three (3) years, and in 1951 it was then extended to five (5) years.

In 1901, the legislative qualifications for voting was primarily property ownership, however, on June 6, 1950, a Bill was passed in the House of Assembly to amend the Representation of the People Act. The Bill abolished the property qualification for membership of the General Assembly and introduced adult suffrage, thereby granting the franchise to every member of the population, twenty one years old and over, to vote for members of the House of Assembly and on October 22, 1963 the franchise was extended to persons eighteen years and over.

An office of the Chief Registering Officer was established in the 1960’s to administer Local Government Elections and to conduct General Elections.

The Electoral and Boundaries Commission - In 1985 the Electoral and Boundaries Commission was established, under Section 41A of the Constitution. It comprises, a Chairman, a Deputy Chairman and three other members. The Chairman and two other members are appointed by the Governor-General, acting on the recommendation of the Prime Minister after consultation with the Leader of the Opposition while the Deputy Chairman and one other member are appointed by the Governor-General, acting on the recommendation of the Leader of the Opposition after consultation with the Prime Minister.


Responsibilities of the Commission - The Commission is responsible for, among others:


1.   The registration of voters and the conduct of elections in every constituency or any matter that is incidental to or consequential upon either. 

2.  Reviewing the number and boundaries of the constituencies into which Barbados is divided and making recommendations to the Prime Minister.