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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 the implementation of its policy programme. After losing all its seats in the general election, the opposition Democratic Labour Party (DLP) remains week.The BLP’s policy agenda includes cutting public-sector debt via debt restructuring with external creditors, and via an ongoing IMF programme. Public debt fell from 157% of GDP in October 2018 to 125% as of May 2019. Other priorities include tackling violent crime, and repairing the country’s sewage and transport infrastructure. The main 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 requires 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%).Barbados entered recession in 2018, with the economy contracting by 0.6%. The country’s goal for an expanded primary surplus will likely force it to curtail public spending, limiting economic recovery to 0-0.5% GDP growth in 2019. Growth is highly dependent on tourism, and remains vulnerable to weather events.Barbados has a rapidly rising murder rate, with 28 homicides for all of 2018, compared with 30 murders already recorded this year by mid-June. The majority of homicide victims are local citizens involved in criminal activities such as drug trafficking and distribution. The primary risk to visitors is theft, with death and injury risks if victims resist. The island is a transhipment point for drug trafficking in the Caribbean. The United States has issued crime-related travel warnings for areas including Bridgetown and Crab Hill.
Last update: November 1, 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: November 1, 2019

Terrorism

Moderate

There are no domestic terrorist groups with the intention or capability to conduct terrorist attacks in Barbados. The country's relatively close relations with the United Kingdom and the United States could motivate terrorist groups to target the sector, especially should Caribbean Islamic State fighters return to the region, although such risks are low. 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.

Last update: November 1, 2019

Crime

Violent crime rates have risen rapidly. In 2018, there were a total of 28 homicides, and in 2019 there have been 34 cases reported as of mid-August. Overall, the majority of crime is non-violent, such as petty theft, burglary, and marijuana use. Crime has not significantly affected the tourism industry or business operations. Minor crime against property represents the bulk of offences recorded. Despite comprehensive legislation and financial regulations, the country remains susceptible to money laundering owing to its substantial offshore financial sector.

Last update: November 1, 2019

War Risks

Interstate war risks are low. Barbados retains positive diplomatic ties with its neighbours and the country is a founding member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Barbados's bilateral relations with Trinidad and Tobago improved following the 2006 resolution of a long-standing dispute over the delimitation of the two countries’ Exclusive Economic Zones, and the two countries have strong trade links.

Last update: November 1, 2019

Social Stability

Moderate

Labour unions are not militant and incidents of industrial action are usually quickly resolved, without posing property damage risks. Strikes generally affect the education, health, transport and utilities sectors. The likelihood of large-scale protests has increased since the government announced the restructuring of its public debt with the IMF. 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: November 1, 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