Foreign relations of Barbados

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This article deals with the diplomatic affairs, foreign policy and international relations of Barbados.

At the political level, these matters are officially handled by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which answers to the Prime Minister. The Minister of Foreign Affairs, since November 2008 is: Senator The Hon. Maxine McClean.

Barbados is a moderate political and economic power in the Caribbean region.

Between independence in 1966 and the 1990s, Barbados has used a pro business and investment policy to expand its influence in the world. Through the usage of its network of international bilateral relations, the country has been able to maintain an independent foreign policy. Barbados' recent policy has been to focus and strengthen ties with nations that country feels will enhance its diplomacy or foreign trade. Barbados has sought to engage in multilateral diplomacy through the United Nations, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Association of Caribbean States (ACS), the group of ACP countries, the Organization of American States, and several other agencies which it is engaged. In 2008 Barbados and the other members of CARICOM signed an Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) with the European Union and its European Commission.[1] The deal covers CARICOM's membership in the Caribbean Forum (CARIFORUM). CARIFORUM in turn is a part of the Group of African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) States. The agreement outlines Barbados' future development and trade ties with the European Union, and serves as a blueprint for future relations between both trading blocs under the Cotonou Agreement and the Lomé Convention.[2]

At times Barbados has found itself as a countervailing force to U.S. political and economic influence in the English-speaking Caribbean.

As a small nation, the primary thrust of Barbados' diplomatic activity has been within international organisations. Currently Barbados has established official diplomatic relations with 105 countries around the globe.


Maxine McClean is the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Barbados

In 1965, Barbados, Antigua and Barbuda, Guyana, and Trinidad and Tobago established the Caribbean Free Trade Association (CARIFTA). Following independence from the United Kingdom in 1966, Barbados went on to become a founding member of many other international organizations.

On July 4, 1973, the founding nations of Barbados, Trinidad and Tobago, Guyana, and Jamaica signed the original Treaty of Chaguaramas in Trinidad thus establishing the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM). The agreement to establish CARICOM wound up succeeded the CARIFTA organisation. By the following year many of the remaining English-speaking Caribbean states followed suit and also joined CARICOM by May 1974, bring it slowly to the 15 members it has today.

Barbados also is a member of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB), established in 1970, with headquarters in Bridgetown. The eastern Caribbean's Regional Security System (RSS), which associates Barbados with six other island nations, also based in Barbados. In July 1994, Barbados joined the newly established Association of Caribbean States (ACS).

In 2002 the United Nations opened a building in the Marine Gardens area of Hastings found in the Parish of Christ Church the facility simply called the United Nations House acts as a regional operations headquarters for several programmes of the United Nations in Barbados and for many of the other islands in the Eastern Caribbean region.[3]


Barbados has a network or of relations with 103 countries around the world, though principal relations are with the following countries.[4]

Principal relations by region. Americas: Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Panama, Uruguay, Venezuela

Eurasia: Austria, Australia, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, New Zealand, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Singapore, Sweden, Switzerland, South Korea, The United Kingdom

Middle East: Israel, Iran and Iraq, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates

Bilateral Relations

Country Formal Relations Began Notes
 Antigua and Barbuda 1981-Nov-01
 Argentina 1968-Aug-16
 Australia 1974-Jan-07 See Australia–Barbados relations

The Australian High Commissioner to Barbados is accredited from Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Barbados is represented in Australia through its High Commission in Ottawa, Ontario, (Canada). Barbados maintains an honorary consul in Australia. Barbados and Australia established diplomatic relations on 7 January 1974. Both Barbados and Australia are current members of the United Nations, Commonwealth of Nations, and comprised as former parts of the British Empire.

 Bahamas 1973-Jul-10
 Belize 1981-Sep-21
 Bolivia 1983-Sep-20
 Brazil 1971-Nov-26 See Barbados–Brazil relations
 Canada 1966-Nov-30 See Barbados–Canada relations

In 1907, the Government of Canada opened a Trade Commissioner Service to the Caribbean region located in Bridgetown, Barbados. Following Barbadian independence from the United Kingdom in November 1966, the Canadian High Commission was established in Bridgetown, Barbados in 1967. There is a Barbadian High Commission in Ottawa and a Barbadian Consulate in Toronto.

 Chile 1967-Oct-03 See Barbados–Chile relations

Barbados is accredited in Chile through its embassy in Caracas, (Venezuela). Chile is accredited to Barbados from its embassy in Port of Spain, (Trinidad and Tobago) and maintains an honorary consulate in Bridgetown. Barbados and Chile formally established diplomatic relations on 3 October 1967.[6] Chile was the first Latin American country which Barbados formally established formal diplomatic relations.[7]

 China 1977-May-30 See Barbados – People's Republic of China relations

Barbados and the China established official diplomatic relations May 30, 1977.[8] Barbados-Sino diplomatic and economic relations have grown steadily over three decades.

 Colombia 1972-Jan-28
 Costa Rica 1972-Mar-06
 Cuba 1972-Dec-12

Barbados was one of the first nations in the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) bloc to form relations with the Republic of Cuba in 1972.

 Czech Republic 1996-Mar-06
 Denmark 1979-Aug-20

Kingston, Jamaica]].

 El Salvador 1994-May-28
 France 1968-May-03 See Barbados–France relations

Both countries have established diplomatic relations on May 3, 1968. Barbados is represented in France through its embassy in Brussels (Belgium). France is represented in Barbados through its embassy in Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago) and an honorary consulate in Bridgetown.

 Dominica 1978-Nov-03
 Dominican Republic 1972-Aug-08
 Germany 1967-Mar-14 See Barbados–Germany relations

Barbados is represented in Germany through its embassy in Brussels, (Belgium) and Germany is represented in to Barbados from its embassy in Port of Spain, (Trinidad and Tobago). Barbados and Germany formally established diplomatic relations on 14 March 1967.

 Grenada 1974-Mar-03
 Guyana 1966-Nov-30 See Barbados–Guyana relations

The relations between Guyana and Barbados had its genesis to a time when both Guyana (then British Guiana) and Barbados were both British colonies. Shortly after Great Britain secured British Guiana from the Dutch, waves of migrants were encouraged to move and settle in Guyana. Barbados was one such location where large numbers of migrants came from. Through time Barbados and Guyana have both supported each other. With the move towards independence in the region Guyana was seen as the breadbasket of the wider Caribbean which led to yet more waves of Barbadians seeking to move to Guyana for better opportunities.

More recently the Guyanese Government has extended an offer to Barbadians.[12][13] The Guyanese government has offered to put in place an economically favourable regime towards any Barbadians that wish to relocate to Guyana and contribute towards that nation's goals in agricultural investment.[14] The announcement was made in the final days of the Owen Arthur administration by MP member Mia Motley.

In the early 1990s the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Patrick Manning pitched an initiative for Barbados, Guyana and Trinidad and Tobago to enter into some form of political union or political association. This initiative was short lived and didn't proceed following the Democratic Labour Party's defeat during the 1994 elections.

 Haiti 1972-Aug-05 In the early 1990s as a member of CARICOM, Barbados had supported efforts by the United States to implement UN Security Council Resolution 940, designed to facilitate the departure of Haiti's de facto authorities from power. The country agreed to contribute personnel to the multinational force, which restored the democratically elected government of Haiti in October 1994.
 India 1966-Nov-30

India and Barbados established diplomatic relations on 30 November 1966 (the date of Barbados' national independence).[15] On that date, the government of India gifted Barbados the throne in Barbados' national House of Assembly.[16] India is represented in Barbados through its embassy in Suriname[17][18][19] and an Indian consulate in Holetown, St. James.[20] Today around 3,000 persons from India call Barbados home. Two-thirds are from the India's Surat district of Gujarat known as Suratis. Most of the Suratis are involved in trading. The rest are mainly Sindhis.

 Ireland 2001-May-03
  • Barbados is represented in Ireland through its embassy in London, United Kingdom.
  • Ireland is represented in Barbados through its embassy in Washington D.C., USA and an honorary consulate in Bridgetown.
 Jamaica 1966-Nov-30
 Japan 1967-Aug-29 See Barbados–Japan relations

Japan is accredited to Barbados from its Embassy in Port of Spain (Trinidad and Tobago) and an honorary consulate in Bridgetown. Barbados is represented in Japan through a non-resident ambassador in Bridgetown.

 Mexico 1972-Sep-11
 Nigeria 1970-Apr-24 See Barbados–Nigeria relations
  • Nigeria is accredited to Barbados from its Embassy in Port of Spain, (Trinidad and Tobago).
  • Currently the Barbadian Government does not have foreign accreditation for Nigeria. However the Nigerian Government has said that it was highly desirous of Barbados establishing an embassy directly to Nigeria.[21] Barbados and Nigeria formally established diplomatic relations on 24 April 1970.[22]
  • Nigeria has pushed for more investment from Barbadian companies and investors and the pursuance of direct flights between both nations.[23][24]
 Russia 1993-Jan-29

The Russian Federation and Barbados established formal diplomatic relations on January 29, 1993.[25]

 Saint Kitts and Nevis 1983-Sep-19
 Saint Lucia 1979-Feb-22
 Saint Vincent and the Grenadines 1979-Oct-27
 South Korea See Barbados–South Korea relations

Foreign relations of the Republic of Korea

 Suriname 1978-Mar-08 See Barbados–Suriname relations

Both countries established diplomatic relations on 8 March 1978. Barbados is accredited to Suriname from Bridgetown. Suriname is represented in Barbados through its embassy in Port of Spain, (Trinidad and Tobago).

 Trinidad and Tobago 1966-Nov-30 See Barbados – Trinidad and Tobago relations

On April 11, 2006, the 5-Member UNCLOS Annex VII Arbitral Tribunal, presided over by H.E. Judge Stephen M. Schwebel, rendered after two years of international judicial proceedings, the landmark Barbados/Trinidad and Tobago Award, which resolved the maritime boundary delimitation (in the East, Central and West sectors) to satisfaction of both Parties and committed Barbados and Trinidad and Tobago to resolve their fisheries dispute by means of concluding a new Fisheries Agreement.

 United Kingdom 1966-Nov-30 See Barbados – United Kingdom relations

The two countries are related through common history, the Commonwealth of Nations and their sharing of the same Head of State, Queen Elizabeth II as their Monarch. The British High Commission was established in Bridgetown, Barbados in 1967. There is a Barbadian High Commission in London.

 United States 1966-Nov-30 See Barbados – United States relations

In May 1997, Prime Minister Owen Arthur hosted United States President Bill Clinton and 14 other Caribbean leaders during the first-ever U.S.-regional summit in Bridgetown, Barbados. The summit strengthened the basis for regional cooperation on justice and counternarcotics issues, finance and development, and trade.

Reciprocal Promotion and Protection of Investments treaties

Barbados has a number of Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) with a growing list of nations. Some of which include:[26]

Double Taxation Agreements

Barbados has a number of Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs) with a growing list of nations. Some of which include:[28]

Multilateral relations

United Nations

On December 7, 1966 the Security Council of the United nations met to debate the membership of Barbados to the General Assembly of the United Nations. During the 1487th plenary meeting of December 9, 1966[32] it was decided that Barbados would be granted membership. Thusly Barbados became the 122nd full member of the United Nations General Assembly on December 12, 1966.[33]

The late Prime Minister Errol Walton Barrow gave a speech during the first General Assembly attended by Barbados: Telling the assembly that his country will be an exponent, "not of the diplomacy of power, but of the diplomacy of peace and prosperity. We have no quarrels to pursue and we particularly insist that we do not regard any member state as our natural opponent," he said. "We will be friends of all, satellites of none."

International Criminal Court

Barbados is also a member of the International Criminal Court, without a Bilateral Immunity Agreement of protection for the US-military (as covered under Article 98)

Diplomatic missions

Barbados has diplomatic missions headed by resident ambassadors or high commissioners in Canada, the United Kingdom, the United States of America, and Venezuela, and at the European Union (Brussels) and the UN. It also has resident consuls general in Toronto, Miami, and New York City. Australia, Brazil, Cuba, Canada, Colombia, People's Republic of China, Guatemala, the United Kingdom, the United States, and Venezuela have ambassadors or high commissioners resident in Barbados.

Participation in international organizations


International Fora with Barbados offices

  • Caribbean Agricultural Research Development Institute (CARDI)
  • Caribbean Centre for Development Administration (CARICAD)
  • Caribbean Development Bank (CDB)
  • Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA)
  • Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC)
  • Caribbean Export Development Agency (CEDA)
  • Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (CRNM)
  • Caribbean Single Market & Economy - Office (CSME)
  • Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO)
  • CARICOM Regional Organisation For Standards and Quality (CROSQ)
  • Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations-Sub-Regional Office for the Caribbean(FAO/SLAC)
  • Inter-American Development Bank (IADB)
  • Inter-American Institute for Cooperation On Agriculture (IICA)
  • International Telecommunications Union (ITU)
  • London Court of International Arbitration (LCIA)
  • Organisation of American States (OAS)
  • Pan American Health Organisation (PAHO)
  • Regional Security Systems (RSS)
  • United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)
  • United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
  • United Nations Development Fund For Women (UNIFEM)


Disputes - international:

  • Venezuela, The Barbados Government charged that 1990 Maritime Delimitation Treaty agreement between Trinidad and Tobago and Venezuela extended into its maritime area.[37]

Illicit drugs:

  • One of many Caribbean transshipment points for narcotics bound for the US and Europe

See also


  1. "Barbados stands to benefit significantly from its services under the EPA between Europe and Caricom". Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved 2009-05-15.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  2. Barbados May Reap Rewards of Treaty Network, Worldwide Tax Dail, 30 April 2009
  4. [1]
  5. Argentina embassy in Port of Spain, also accredited to Barbados (in Spanish only)
  7. Barbados’ Prime Minister to Pay an Official Visit to the Republic of Chile, Barbados Government Information Service, 3 November 2005
  8. "China and Barbados", Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, September 26, 2008
  12. [2]
  13. [3]
  14. [4]
  15. List of states which Barbados has diplomatic relations
  16. About the House of Assembly, Barbados
  17. List of diplomatic missions accredited to Barbados
  18. Indian embassy Suriname
  19. Barbados India Relations, (Note: to view this file, convert the extension of php to pdf.
  20. List of Honorary Consulates in Barbados
  21. "Closer ties with Nigeria". The Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Retrieved 2009-04-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  23. "Nigeria wants direct flights to Barbados". The Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Retrieved 2009-04-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  24. "Nigerian cooperation". The Caribbean Broadcasting Corporation (CBC). Retrieved 2009-04-08.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>[dead link]
  26. Invest Barbados - Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs)
  27. null, null (2009-08-11). "Barbados and BLEU sign investment treaty". CaribbeanNetNews. Retrieved 2009-08-11.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  28. Invest Barbados - Double Taxation Agreements (DTAs)
  29. Barbados signs a double taxation agreement with Mexico as Trinidad & Jamaica vie to wear offshore crown, Broad Street Journal
  30. Google Cache:Barbados Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  31. :Ministry of Economic Affairs & Development -- Bi-lateral Investment Treaties and Double Taxation Agreements
  32. 2175 (XX). Admission of Barbados to membership in the United Nations,
  34. UN Continental Shelf and UNCLOS Article 76: Barbadian Submission
  36. Barbados and France Discuss Delimitation of their Maritime Boundaries - 7 June 2006
  37. null, null (2004-02-19). "Trinidad-Barbados dispute over 1990 Maritime Treaty". CaribbeanNetNews. Archived from the original on 3 August 2004. Retrieved 2004-02-19. <templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links