Barbados, as a small island nation in the Caribbean, is not often present as a major player on the political scene of any scale, from local to regional. The country’s internal political system continues to function without much attention from the outside. It is not widely known that Barbados actually operates in the framework of the Britain’s Westminster parliament, and has so for more than three centuries. During this substantial period, many practices and ideals embedded themselves into the consciousness of politicians from this Caribbean country.
There are signs that things are changing. As of late, some politicians from Barbados are calling for reform and asking that the country discard the current rule of governance. Michael Carrington, who is the current Speaker of the Barbadian Parliament, said that the Westminster parliamentary system seemed to constantly antagonize the acting government against its oppositions. He also suggested that this way of doing politics is aggressive, controversial and many times seem to lead political forces in bitter confrontations which may be completely unnecessary.
Elected leader Michael Carrington addressed a combined meeting of the two principal chambers of the Barbadian parliament, the Senate and the House of Assembly, in commemoration of the institution exactly 375 years ago.
“Hunkering down behind traditional battle lines of political tribalism cannot help this country,” Opposition Leader, Mia Mottley, added “bipartisan cooperation, led by a new generation of patriots who put the national interest above all else, is what Barbados needs”. “Genuine parliamentary reform must find creative ways to embrace all talents and welcome all constructive contributions,” she said.
In the entire Commonwealth, only two other parliaments are older from the Barbadian, the British Parliament in 1215, and the Parliament of Bermuda that began in 1620.