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Country Reports

Barbados Country Report

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Risk Level

Low
Moderate
Elevated
High
Very High
Severe
Extreme

Overview

Executive Summary

The Barbados Labour Party (BLP) of Prime Minister Mia Mottley won all 30 seats in the House of Assembly during the 2018 general election; there is no parliamentary opposition to implementation of its policy programme. After losing all its seats in the general election, the opposition Democratic Labour party (DLP) has been severely weakened. The BLP’s policy agenda includes cutting public-sector debt, which, according to IMF reports, reached 157% of GDP as of October 2018, within an ongoing IMF programme, tackling violent crime, and repairing the country’s sewage and transport infrastructure. The main government economic priority is implementing the 2018 programme agreed with the IMF under an Extended Fund Facility worth USD290 million. The plan’s goal is to increase the primary surplus by 2.5% of GDP to 6% of GDP in 2019/20. This will require tax increases and the restructuring of state-owned enterprises (with the goal of cutting transfers and subsidies to SOEs from the current 7.5% of GDP to 5.5%), both of which will increase the likelihood of protests. Demonstrations, however, are unlikely to destabilise the government or lead to property damage. Barbados entered recession in 2018, with the economy contracting by 0.6%. The country’s ambitious goal for an expanded primary surplus forces it to curtail public spending, which will limit economic recovery to 0.5% GDP growth in 2019. Growth will continue to be highly dependent on tourism, which grew modestly in 2018, but remains vulnerable to weather events, lower global growth, and increased competition from other Caribbean destinations. The primary risk to visitors is theft, with death and injury risks if victims resist armed robbers. The island is a significant transhipment point for drug trafficking in the Caribbean and the United States has issued crime-related travel warnings for areas such as Bridgetown and Crab Hill.
Last update: April 25, 2019

Operational Outlook

Infrastructure in Barbados is well developed by Caribbean standards, and there are good air and sea links to major markets. Corruption levels are among the lowest in the region. The average time of starting a business is 15 days, according to the World Bank's Doing Business Report 2018, which is half of the Caribbean average. Although labour is expensive by regional standards, the workforce is productive and well educated. Prime Minister Mia Mottley has prioritised improving road, water, and sewerage infrastructure, especially to increase resilience from hurricane-related events.

Last update: January 24, 2019

Terrorism

Moderate

There are no insurgent groups known to operate in Barbados. An Anti-Terrorism Act was introduced in 2002 and the Barbados Defence Force (BDF) leads on counter-terrorism initiatives. Barbadian authorities are likely to continue carrying out training activities to mitigate potential threats from international groups, particularly against countries considered "soft targets" or those closely allied to the United States. Money laundering is a challenge for the government, which is seeking to improve anti-money laundering laws, as well as anti-terrorism laws, in line with measures recommended by the Financial Action Task Force.

Last update: January 24, 2019

War Risks

Interstate war risks are low and unlikely to increase for Barbados because of its effective diplomatic ties with neighbouring Caribbean countries and as it is a founding member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) economic and diplomatic bloc. In April 2006, the Permanent Court of Arbitration in The Hague, the Netherlands, denied Barbados the right to set up an exclusive maritime and economic zone over the continental shelf that lies between it and Trinidad, bringing a legal end to this dispute.

Last update: January 24, 2019

Social Stability

Moderate

Unions are not militant and incidents of industrial action are usually quickly resolved, without posing property damage risks. In July 2017, the Barbados Private Sector Association and trade unions conducted peaceful protests of around 20,000 demonstrators against a tax increase. The likelihood of large-scale protests has increased since the government announced the restructuring of its public debt with the IMF, as this raises the likelihood of unpopular austerity measures being implemented in the next year. Environmental protests are usually small-scale, with only dozens of protestors. Increased offshore oil exploration scheduled over the next year raises the likelihood of local opposition.

Last update: January 24, 2019

Health Risk

Elevated

Vaccines Required to Enter the Country

Yellow fever: There is no risk of contracting yellow fever in Barbados. However, the government requires proof of vaccination for travelers arriving from countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission. A single dose of YF vaccine is sufficient to confer sustained life-long immunity against the disease.

Vaccines Recommended for All Travelers

Routine vaccinations: Consult your doctor to ensure all routine vaccinations - such as for diphtheria, tetanus, polio, tuberculosis, influenza, measles, mumps, pertussis, rubella, varicella, etc. - are up to date (include booster shots if necessary).

Vaccines Recommended for Most Travelers

Hepatitis A: The vaccine is given in two doses, six months apart, and is nearly 100 percent effective. The WHO recommends the vaccine be integrated into national routine immunization schedules for children aged one year or older.

Typhoid fever: The typhoid fever vaccine can be administered via injection (administered in one dose) or orally (four doses). The vaccine is only 50-80 percent effective, so travelers to areas with a risk of exposure to typhoid fever, a bacterial disease, should also take hygienic precautions (e.g. drink only bottled water, avoid undercooked foods, wash hands regularly, etc.). Children can be given the shot beginning at two years of age (six for the oral vaccine).

Vaccines Recommended for Some Travelers

Hepatitis B: The WHO recommends that all infants receive their first dose of vaccine as soon as possible after birth, preferably within 24 hours. The birth dose should be followed by two or three doses to complete the primary series. Routine booster doses are not routinely recommended for any age group.

Rabies: The rabies vaccination is typically only recommended for travel to remote areas and if the traveler will be at high risk of exposure (e.g. undertaking activities that will bring them into contact with dogs, cats, bats, or other mammals). The vaccination is administered in three doses over a three-to-four week period. Post exposure prophylaxis is also available and should be administered as soon as possible following contact with an animal suspected of being infected (e.g. bites and scratches).

Last update: April 5, 2019

Natural Risks

Severe

The country can be hit by hurricanes and tropical storms during the annual hurricane season that officially runs from June 1 to November 30. In August and September 2017, hurricanes Harvey and Maria passed near the island, bringing violent winds and torrential rain that resulted in flooding and power outages, though no major damage. Information regarding current or forecast storms is available on the US National Hurricane Center's website.

Barbados is also located in a seismic zone and earthquakes sometimes occur.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Transportation

Low

Visitors should be careful while driving; secondary roads are sometimes quite narrow and buses and taxis often travel at seemingly unsafe speeds. Public buses (blue and yellow) are generally safe, while privately-owned bus companies are often less so. If taking taxis, use only licensed companies.

Note that cars drive on the left side of the road in this British Commonwealth.

Last update: April 5, 2019

Practical Information

Climate

The climate in Barbados is tropical. The dry season lasts from November until May and the rainy season from June until October. Average temperatures range from 25°C to 35°C and days are usually sunny.

Useful Numbers

Country Code: +1 246
Police: 211

Electricity

Voltage: 115V ~ 50 Hz

Outlets:

Last update: April 5, 2019