Barbados is a parliamentary democracy within the Commonwealth, in which the British monarchy (represented by the Governor General) is the head of state and the Prime Minister is the head of government.
Parliament is based on the Westminster model (the model of parliament of Canada and the UK) and consists of Her Majesty (represented by the Governor General), the Senate (the Upper House), and the House of Assembly (the Lower House). The approval of the Senate and House of Assembly is required for legislation to pass; however the Government is responsible solely to 'the people' through the House of Assembly.
Under the Constitution the Senate consists of 21 persons appointed by the Governor General. Twelve are Government senators appointed on the Prime Minister's advice and two on the advice of the Leader of the Opposition. The remaining seven appointments represent various interest groups.
The House of Assembly consists of 30 members elected by majority vote in each parliamentary constituency. Members of Parliament serve for a maximum of five years.
Major political parties are Democratic Labour Party (DLP), Barbados Labour Party (BLP) and People's Empowerment Party (PEP).
Dame Sandra Prunella Mason, GCMG, D.A., Q.C. was born on the 17th day of January, 1949 in East Point, St. Philip, Barbados.
On leaving St. Catherine’s Primary School at age nine, she attended Queen’s College, where she successfully obtained seven GCE O Level qualifications and A Level qualifications in French and English.
Her tertiary level education at the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus, Barbados and the Hugh Wooding Law School, Trinidad, saw her obtain a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) degree in 1973 and a Certificate of Legal Education in 1975, respectively. In doing so, she became the first Barbadian female Attorney-at-Law to have graduated from the Hugh Wooding Law School.
The Hon. Freundel J. Stuart was appointed Prime Minister of Barbados on October 23, 2010 following the death of Prime Minister, Hon. David Thompson. He is the 7th Prime Minister of Barbados.
Raised in St. Philip, Prime Minister Stuart attended Boys' Foundation School and the University of the West Indies where he obtained Honours undergraduate degrees in political science and law, a Masters degree in Public International Law and Legal Education Certificate. The 59 year old Prime Minister is an attorney-at-Law by profession. In politics he was the member of parliament for St. Philip South from 1994 - 1999, a member of the Senate from 2003 - 2007 and is the sitting member of parliament for St. Michael South.
Prior to becoming Prime Minister, he held the cabinet positions of Attorney-General and Minister of Home Affairs and was also Deputy Prime Minister.