Country Reports

Barbados Country Report

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Risk Level

Very High


Executive Summary

In May 2018, Prime Minister Mia Mottley of the Barbados Labour Party (BLP) won the general election with a majority, obtaining all 30 seats of the House of Assembly, and ending the 14-year governance of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP). Mottley supports foreign direct investment and free-market policies, but has assigned greater priority to addressing the country's large public debt than the DLP. In June 2018, Mottley announced Barbados would seek debt restructuring with support of the IMF, and suspend payments for debts payable to external commercial creditors. Barbados's GDP growth slowed due to hurricane-related disruptions, contributing to further downgrades of the country's sovereign credit rating. Barbados is vulnerable to money laundering, as drug trafficking organisations seekto use the country's offshore financial sector to recycle funds.

Last update: October 9, 2018

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's policy priorities include improving road infrastructure and strengthening domestic business, but these goals are likely to be limited by austerity measures required to tackle the large public debt.

Last update: October 9, 2018



The risk of terrorist attacks is low. 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.

Last update: October 9, 2018

War Risks

Interstate war risks are low and unlikely to increase for Barbados because of its effective diplomatic ties with neighbouring Caribbean countries. 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: October 9, 2018

Social Stability


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 that it would restructure 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: October 9, 2018

Health Risk


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: August 23, 2018

Natural Risks


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: February 13, 2018



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: February 13, 2018

Practical Information


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


Voltage: 115V ~ 50 Hz


Last update: December 12, 2013