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Barbados



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Introduction

Background: The island was uninhabited when first settled by the British in 1627. Its economy remained heavily dependent on sugar, rum, and molasses production through most of the 20th century. In the 1990s, tourism and manufacturing surpassed the sugar industry in economic importance.

Geography

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

Area
  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
  signed, but not ratified: Biodiversity

Geography - note: easternmost Caribbean island

People

Population: 274,540 (July 2000 est.)

Age structure
  0-14 years: 22% (male 30,687; female 30,172)
  15-64 years: 69% (male 92,241; female 96,866)
  65 years and over: 9% (male 9,506; female 15,068) (2000 est.)

Population growth rate: 0.55% (2000 est.)

Birth rate: 14.45 births/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Death rate: 8.68 deaths/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Net migration rate: -0.32 migrant(s)/1,000 population (2000 est.)

Sex ratio
  at birth: 1.03 male(s)/female
  under 15 years: 1.02 male(s)/female
  15-64 years: 0.95 male(s)/female
  65 years and over: 0.63 male(s)/female
  total population: 0.93 male(s)/female (2000 est.)

Infant mortality rate: 12.37 deaths/1,000 live births (2000 est.)

Life expectancy at birth
  total population: 73 years
  male: 70.43 years
  female: 75.6 years (2000 est.)

Total fertility rate: 1.7 children born/woman (2000 est.)

Nationality
  noun: Barbadian(s) or Bajan (colloquial)
  adjective: Barbadian or Bajan (colloquial)

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

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

Languages: English

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

Government

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

Data code: BB

Government type: parliamentary democracy; independent sovereign state within the Commonwealth

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 (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 monarch is hereditary; governor general appointed by the monarch; 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 20 January 1999 (next to be held by January 2004)
  election results: House of Assembly - percent of vote by party - NA; seats by party - BLP 26, DLP 2

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

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

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

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: Miami and New York
  consulate(s): Los Angeles

Diplomatic representation from the US
  chief of mission: Ambassador (vacant); Charge d' Affairs Roland BULLEN
  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)

Economy

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 1996-99. Offshore finance and informatics are important foreign exchange earners, and there is also a light manufacturing sector. 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 - $2.9 billion (1998 est.)

GDP - real growth rate: 4.4% (1998 est.)

GDP - per capita: purchasing power parity - $11,200 (1998 est.)

GDP - composition by sector
  agriculture: 4.9%
  industry: 15.6%
  services: 79.5% (1997)

Population below poverty line: NA%

Household income or consumption by percentage share
  lowest 10%: NA%
  highest 10%: NA%

Inflation rate (consumer prices): 1.7% (1998)

Labor force: 136,000 (1998 est.)

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

Unemployment rate: 12% (1998 est.)

Budget
  revenues: $725.5 million
  expenditures: $750.6 million, including capital expenditures of $126.3 million (FY97/98 est.)

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

Industrial production growth rate: 0.8% (1996)

Electricity - production: 672 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - production by source
  fossil fuel: 100%
  hydro: 0%
  nuclear: 0%
  other: 0% (1998)

Electricity - consumption: 625 million kWh (1998)

Electricity - exports: 0 kWh (1998)

Electricity - imports: 0 kWh (1998)

Agriculture - products: sugarcane, vegetables, cotton

Exports: $211.2 million (1998)

Exports - commodities: sugar and molasses, rum, other foods and beverages, chemicals, electrical components, clothing

Exports - partners: UK 14.8%, US 11.6%, Trinidad and Tobago 7.6%, Venezuela 6.1%, Jamaica 5.8% (1998)

Imports: $1.01 billion (1998)

Imports - commodities: consumer goods, machinery, foodstuffs, construction materials, chemicals, fuel, electrical components

Imports - partners: US 30.7%, Trinidad and Tobago 10.2%, Japan 8.3%, UK 7.7%, Canada 2.2% (1998)

Debt - external: $550 million (1998 est.)

Economic aid - recipient: $9.1 million (1995)

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

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

Fiscal year: 1 April - 31 March

Communications

Telephones - main lines in use: 90,000 (1995)

Telephones - mobile cellular: 4,614 (1995)

Telephone system
  domestic: island-wide automatic telephone system
  international: satellite earth stations - 4 Intelsat (Atlantic Ocean); tropospheric scatter to Trinidad and Saint Lucia

Radio broadcast stations: AM 2, FM 3, shortwave 0 (1998)

Radios: 237,000 (1997)

Television broadcast stations: 1 (plus two cable channels) (1997)

Televisions: 76,000 (1997)

Internet Service Providers (ISPs): 3 (1999)

Transportation

Railways: 0 km

Highways
  total: 1,600 km
  paved: 1,578 km
  unpaved: 22 km (1998 est.)

Ports and harbors: Bridgetown, Speightstown (Port Charles Marina)

Merchant marine
  total: 47 ships (1,000 GRT or over) totaling 654,580 GRT/1,103,780 DWT
  ships by type: bulk 10, cargo 29, combination bulk 1, container 1, petroleum tanker 4, refrigerated cargo 2 (1999 est.) (Note: a flag of convenience registry; includes ships of 2 countries: Canada owns 2 ships, Hong Kong 1 (1998 est.))

Airports: 1 (1999 est.)

Airports - with paved runways
  total: 1
  over 3,047 m: 1 (1999 est.)

Military

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

Military manpower - availability
  males age 15-49: 77,789 (2000 est.)

Military manpower - fit for military service
  males age 15-49: 53,472 (2000 est.)

Military expenditures - dollar figure: $NA

Military expenditures - percent of GDP: NA%

Transnational Issues

Disputes - international: none

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

 

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