About 90% of Barbados' population of 291,000 (July 2015 estimate) is of African descent, 4% European descent, and 6% Asian or mixed. About 40% of Barbadians are Anglican, and the rest mostly Roman Catholic, Methodist, Baptist, and Moravian. Barbados' population growth rate has been very low, less than 1% since the 1960s, largely due to family planning efforts and a high emigration rate. Barbados has acquired the nickname "Little England" because, through the centuries, it has remained the most British of the Caribbean islands.
The law provides criminal penalties for official corruption, and the government generally implemented these laws effectively. Corruption is generally not a major problem in Barbados. The government has one of the lowest rates of corruption in the world meaning engagement with all levels is possible and that the government will likely be receptive to outside aid.
The small island state of Barbados is one of the safest countries in the region. Its homicide rate has fluctuated over the past decade, but it has managed to bring it under control in recent years with the total number of murders falling for three consecutive years. Though there are estimated to be a number of gang members active in the country, they are typically not involved in organised crime, like their counterparts in Jamaica, for example.
In the 2010 Human Development Report, Barbados was ranked 42nd out of 169 countries and classified as having a ‘‘very high’’ level of human development. It is the only country in the English-speaking Caribbean to have received that designation.
As is well known, Barbados was one of England's oldest colonies in the New World and its wealthiest during the last half of the seventeenth century. The sun is truly a "scorcher" in Bridgetown, and rules the day throughout. But in the early 20th century there was the "ice house," a combination of boarding-house, hotel, and cafe, where things to eat may be had, but more especially things to drink. And it was at the ice house that bibulous man quenched his raging thirst, perhaps for the first time imbibed the seductive cocktail, which is concocted by experienced "druggists" after a recipe handed down from past generations. It was then stirred with a "swizzle," a pronged stick that fits into the bottom of a large tumbler, and is rotated rapidly between one's two hands. It was not solely the rotation of the stick that gave the renowned "swizzle" effect, but some saponaceous quality in the cambium layer of the wood. Whatever, it seemed to "fill the bill" with the majority of experimenters, and generally one may find, among the effects of the returning voyager to the Antilles, a bunch of swizzle-sticks.
Barbadians, locally refered to as "Bajans", are slightly different in comparison to other Caribbean islands. Bajans have a deep-rooted spiritual and religious consciousness. Various values and rules of etiquette that have been passed down through the generations, which have lead to our people being courteous, thoughtful and generous.
Barbados inherited from the British a stratified society with a strong sense of class consciousness; Barbadian aspirations to reach the next rung of the social and economic ladder partially explain the industriousness of the population.
Drawing on its English, African and West Indian roots, Barbados has established its own distinctive identity, evidenced in its customs, traditions and value, and passionately expressed through the rich history, exceptional cuisine and artistic talents of its people. Drivers in Barbados are extremely courteous to pedestrians and will usually stop anywhere for anyone attempting to cross a road. A stopped vehicle, whether travelling in the same or the opposite direction, might indicate that pedestrians are crossing and drivers should exercise caution.
Registered taxis and large public buses are generally safe. Private vans and small buses are often crowded and tend to travel at excessive speeds. Travelers are cautioned against riding in private mini-buses, known as “Z buses,” as the owners frequently drive erratically.
The main medical facility in Barbados is Queen Elizabeth Hospital. Medical care is good for the region, but medical transport can take hours to respond and ambulance attendants are prohibited from applying lifesaving techniques during transport.
Crime in Barbados is characterized primarily by petty theft and street crime. Incidents of violent crime, including rape and armed robbery, do occur.
It’s an offence for anyone, including children, to dress in camouflage clothing.
|Join the GlobalSecurity.org mailing list|