An independent country since November 30, 1966, Barbados is noted for its high level of political, economic and social stability, as well as for the integrity of its institutions. The country operates as a well developed democracy with open elections held every five years.
Barbados enjoys a parliamentary style government, with a House of Representatives and a Senate. The island's first Parliament was established in 1639, making it the third oldest in the Western Hemisphere.
The function and powers of the Government are vested in Cabinet, presided over by the Prime Minister. Senators are appointed: twelve by the Government, two by the official Opposition, and seven "independents" on the recommendation of the Governor General who is the Queen's respresentative and Head of State.
The legal system in Barbados is based on English Common Law as modified by Statute to meet local requirements. The member of the judiciary, in performing their judicial acts, are completely independent of the executive and legislative functions of Government.