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“Barbados has been anindependent country since 30 November 1966. It functions as a constitutionalmonarchy and parliamentarydemocracy, modelledon the British Westminstersystem, with Elizabeth II, Queen of Barbados, as head of state, represented locally by the Governor-General, Elliott Belgrave, and the Prime Ministeras headof the government.The number of representatives within the House of Assembly has gradually increased from 24 at independence to its present total of30 seats.

During the 1990s, at thesuggestion of Trinidad and Tobago's Patrick Manning, Barbados attempted a political union with Trinidadand Tobago and Guyana. The project stalled after the then PrimeMinister of Barbados, LloydErskine Sandiford,became ill and his Democratic Labour Party lost the next general election.[25][26] However, Barbados continues to share closeties with Trinidad and Tobago and with Guyana, claiming the highest number ofGuyanese immigrants after the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

Barbados functions as a two-party system, the two dominant parties being theruling Democratic Labour Party and the opposition BarbadosLabour Party (BLP).Until 2003, each party had served two terms in office alternately.[27] The general election of 2003 victory for the Barbados Labour Party gave it a third term in office,as a result of which it achieved a total of fourteen continuous years ingovernment, from 1994 until the 2008 elections.Under that administration, the former Prime Minister, The Right Honourable OwenS. Arthur, acted as the Regional Leader of the Caribbean Single Market (CSM).”

“Barbados is the 51st richest country in the world in terms of GDP (Gross DomesticProduct) per capita,[2] has a well-developed mixed economy, and a moderately high standardof living.According to the World Bank, Barbados is classified as being in its 66 top highincome economies ofthe world.[53] A 2012 self-study in conjunction with the Caribbean Development Bank revealed 20% of Barbadians live in poverty, and nearly 10% cannot meettheir basic daily food needs.[54]

Historically, the economyof Barbados had been dependent on sugarcane cultivation and related activities, but in thelate 1970s and early 1980s it has diversified into the manufacturing andtourism sectors. Offshore finance and information services have becomeimportant foreign exchange earners, and there is a healthy light manufacturingsector. Since the 1990s the Barbados Government has been seen asbusiness-friendly and economically sound.[citation needed] The island has seen a construction boom, withthe development and redevelopment of hotels, office complexes, and homes.[citation needed]

Recent governmentadministrations have continued efforts to reduce unemployment, encourage foreign direct investment, and privatise remaining state-owned enterprises. Unemployment has beenreduced to 10.7 in 2003.[1]

The economy contracted in2001 and 2002 due to slowdowns in tourism, consumer spending and the impact ofthe 11 September 2001 attacks, but rebounded in 2003 and has shown growth since 2004.[1] Traditional trading partners include Canada,the CaribbeanCommunity(especially Trinidadand Tobago), theUnited Kingdom and the United States.

Business links andinvestment flows have become substantial: as of 2003 the island saw from CanadaCA$ 25 billion in investmentholdings, placing it as one of Canada's top five destinations for Canadianforeign direct investment (FDI). Businessman Eugene Melnyk of Toronto, Canada, is said to beBarbados' richest permanent resident.[citation needed]

It has been reported thatthe year 2006 would have been one of the busiest years for buildingconstruction ever in Barbados, as the building-boom on the island entered thefinal stages for several multi-million dollar commercial projects.[55]

The European Union ispresently assisting Barbados with a €10 million programme of modernisationof the country's International Business and Financial Services Sector.[56]

Barbados maintains thethird largest stockexchange in theCaribbean region. At present, officials at the stock exchange are investigatingthe possibility of augmenting the local exchange with an InternationalSecurities Market (ISM) venture.[57]” (, Accesed on 9 April 2013)

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