Barbados Country Report
The next general election will likely be in May 2018 as Prime Minister Freundel Stuart can use the 90 day window to call elections from February. He is forecast to be re-elected, despite concerns over the country's heavy public debt burden, large fiscal deficit and the sustainability of Barbados's currency peg to the US dollar. Barbados's GDP growth slowed markedly due to hurricane-related disruptions, contributing to further downgrades of the country's sovereign credit rating by main rating agencies. Barbados remains vulnerable to money laundering and other illegal financial activities, as drug trafficking organisations seek to use the country's offshore financial sector to recycle ill gotten funds.
The operational environment is consistent with steady levels of economic and political development in Barbados. The domestic infrastructure is developed by Caribbean standards, and there are good air and sea links to major markets. Bureaucracy is reasonably efficient, and corruption levels are among the lowest in the region. Although labour is expensive by regional standards, the workforce is productive and well-educated. The government is pro-business and expects to attract as much as USD1 billion in investments for the tourism sector by 2020.
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. Mindful of the potential threat from international groups, particularly against countries considered "soft targets" or those closely allied to the United States, Barbadian authorities are likely to continue carrying out training activities to mitigate any such risks.
Interstate war risks are low and unlikely to increase for Barbados because of its good relations with neighbouring Caribbean countries and effective diplomatic efforts. A lingering dispute with Trinidad and Tobago over fishing rights will continue to play out via diplomatic channels. 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.
There is a low risk of large-scale or violent protests, mainly associated with high rates of inflation. Unions are not militant and incidents of industrial action tend to be quickly resolved and do not pose property damage risks. Some unrest is likely around parliamentary elections, with the next vote due in 2018. Environmental awareness is relatively high compared with other Caribbean nations, but this has not been reflected in higher rates of protest. Increased offshore oil exploration poses some risk of provoking local opposition.
Vaccinations required to enter the country
Proof of vaccination against yellow fever is required for travelers over one year of age arriving from a country with risk of yellow fever (YFV) transmission (except Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago) and for travelers who have been in transit for >12 hours in an airport located in a country with risk of YFV transmission.
Hepatitis A: A vaccine is available for anyone over one year of age. The vaccine may not be effective for certain people, e.g. those born before 1945 and who lived as a child in a developing country and/or have a past history of jaundice (icterus). These people can instead get a shot of immune globulin (IG) to boost their immunity against the disease.
Hepatitis B: A vaccine is available for children at least two months old.
Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio: A booster shot should be administered if necessary (once every ten years).
Typhoid Fever: If your travels take you to regions with poor sanitary conditions (for children two years old and up).
For Children: All standard childhood immunizations should be up-to-date. In the case of a long stay, the BCG vaccine is recommended for children over one month and the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine for children over nine months.
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.
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.
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.
|Country Code:||+1 246|
Voltage: 115V ~ 50 Hz