Central Government is based in Antigua but Barbuda has its own local council.
Barbuda is part of a three-island state with Antigua and Redonda. After independence in 1981 Antigua and Barbuda remained a monarchy with Queen Elizabeth II as the head of state and her representative in the state is the Governor General, presently Sir Rodney Williams.
Parliament, situated in St Johns, Antigua, consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate, and representatives (or MPs) are elected by popular vote from 16 constituencies in Antigua, and one in Barbuda. A general election must be held within five years of the previous one. Senators are appointed by the Governor General on the advice of the prime minister and the leader of the opposition. The prime minister heads a cabinet of ministers who administer the state and all legislation is introduced in the House of Representatives and then passed to the Senate for review and assent - this form of government is modelled on the British parliamentary system.
On June 12th 2014 the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party won a landslide victory over the government of the United People's Party (UPP) to take control of 16 seats in Antigua and the one seat in Barbuda, where Arthur Nibbs beat Trevor Walker by one vote. Gaston Browne is now the prime minister, the first time for the ABLP since Lester Bird lost the 2004 election. Arthur Nibbs represents Barbuda as our representative in the House of Representatives, and Adrian Lee sits as Barbuda's senator. Antigua and Barbuda is a member of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and joined the Caribbean Single Market and the Caribbean Court of Justice on 30 June 2006.
The Barbuda Council runs the internal affairs of the island on a day-to-day basis in the administration buildings shown here, and was established in 1976 by the Barbuda Local Government Act, which created a council of 11 members. Nine members are elected by the registered voters of Barbuda, with the parliamentary representative (MP) and the senator, who is nominated by the council, as ex-officio members. The councillors serve for four years with elections held every two years in March when four seats and five seats becoming vacant at alternate polls. The Barbuda Council administers and regulates agriculture, forestry, public health, public utilities, and roads as exclusive powers, and raises and collects revenue to meet expenses incurred in the performance of its functions.
The Barbuda Council has five committees: Finance. Works and General Purposes; Health, Social Welfare and Disaster; Tourism, Sports, Culture and Youth Affairs; and Agriculture, Land, Forestry, Fisheries, Coastal/Marine Protection. The council also has a board of education and training. Contact details for Barbuda Council are -
General Information - (+1268) 460-0077
Chairman of Councils Office - (+1268) 460-0001
Tourism - (+1268) 562-7065
The Council does not have a website but contributes information to barbudaful.net. Their postal address is: The Secretary, Barbuda Council, Codrington, Barbuda, Antigua and Barbuda.
Arthur was first elected to the Barbuda Council in 1979 and served as chairman for 7 years altogether, from 1985 to 1989, 1997 to 1999, and 1999 to 2000. Arthur was educated at the Holy Trinity School and the Antigua Grammar School. He was employed as an assistant air traffic controller at the V C Bird International Airport and worked as personnel manager at the K Club. In 1980 Arthur Nibbs was a BPM member of the delegation that met at Lancaster House in London to discuss independence for Antigua and Barbuda. At this point he was an advocate of a separate future for Barbuda from the island of Antigua.
Arthur's long career in politics has seen him move to the ABLP from BPM where he was a member twice. In the past he has formed several political parties, including the New Barbuda Development Movement (NBDM), the Barbuda Peoples Movement for Change (BPMC), the Organisation for National Reconstruction (ONR), and the Barbuda Independence Movement (BIM). In 2014 he won the Barbudan seat for the ABLP.
Arthur was already a senator and chairman of the Barbuda Council following the 2013 Council elections, when Gaston Brown and Asot Michael of the ABLP came to Barbuda to support his campaign. He is the minister for Agriculture, Lands and Barbudan Affairs.
On 1 November 2004 Hilbourne Frank was knighted for his dedication to serving the people of Barbuda in the political field for over 40 years. Sir Hilbourne retired as Barbuda's representative in 2004 and had originally entered politics in 1960 when he lost to McChesney George in the general election of that year. Sir Hilbourne graduated from Antigua Grammar School in 1950 and taught at the Grammar School, the Boys' School (now T N Kirnon), and the Holy Trinity School in Barbuda from 1950 to 1960. Then he worked at the Coco Point Lodge and as a legal secretary for Claude Earle Francis until his departure for England in 1963.
In the early 1960s Sir Hilbourne established the Barbuda Workers Union and whilst living in England founded the Barbuda Association. In 1974 he organised the first international convention of Barbudans. On returning to the island in 1979 Sir Hilbourne was elected to the Barbuda Council and became the chairman, serving as chairman of the council on two occasions – from 1979 to 1985 and from 1989 to 1997. He attended the important independence talks at Lancaster House with John McDonald QC, and worked on the Essex Report.
More recently Sir Hilbourne has dedicated his life to the pursuit of equal rights and justice for Barbudan people. He has personally pursued a number of legal cases to establish Barbudans' rights to ownership of the island's sand and to their land rights and self determination through the Barbuda Land Act.
He served as Barbuda's member of the House of Representatives of Antigua and Barbuda between 1989 and 2004. In 2004, he retired as a legislator and was knighted later that year.
Trevor Walker represented the Barbuda People's Movement (BPM) and Barbuda in the House of Representatives as MP for Barbuda until June 2014, when he lost by one vote to Arthur Nibbs. Trevor won the general election on 20 April 2004 and was sworn in by the then Governor General, Sir James Carlisle, at Government House in Antigua on 26 April 2004. He serves as Minister of Works and Transport in the UPP cabinet. Trevor Walker was first elected to the Barbuda Council in 2001. He was educated at the Holy Trinity School and was awarded a degree in economics by St Leo University in Florida. He worked at the K Club as the local manager for nine years. His father, Rueben Harris, was Minister of Education for eighteen years.
The ABLP is the Barbuda branch of the Antigua Labour Party, which is led by the prime minister Gaston Brown.The previous leader, Sir Lester Bird, retired from illness. Lester is the son of the "father of the nation" Sir Vere Bird senior and part of the political dynasty who led the Antiguan and Barbudan government until 2004. Their website is here - Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party.
The BPM considers that the last 10 years have witnessed a fundamental transformation in the relationship between central government in Antigua and the Barbuda Council. This change came about as a result of the alliance between the United Progressive Party (UPP) government and the Barbuda People's Movement. The improved relationship eradicated at least a quarter of a century of mistrust, confrontation, and confusion with the ABLP govenment. The BPM considers that this included the ruthless exploitation of Barbuda's natural resources through sand mining and the allocation of land to investors who did not have the island's best interests at heart. The BPM judged that Barbudans were relegated to second class status in the national consciousness.
As a result of this partnership the people of Barbuda embraced the passage into law of the Barbuda Land Act 2007. This act recognizes communal ownership of all lands on the island, and Barbudans' sole right to determine how their land is to be used, developed, and tenured in the future. You can read this legislation in full on the website of the Antigua and Barbuda government.
In 2004 the UPP prime minister, Baldwin Spencer, gave the BPM representative, Trevor Walker, the cabinet position of minister for works and transport. The BPM emphasises that this recognition was to bring many benefits to Barbuda. These include major improvements in the previously neglected infrastructural aspects of the island's economy: a new and expanded roads network; a greatly improved electrical supply; the installation of a reverse osmosis water supply system; greater educational opportunities for young Barbudans overseas; and radical improvements in the health and social welfare provisions of the Barbuda Council. The Chinese government provided a new community centre and the Japanese government a fisheries building. A pensions act introduced into the legislative structure of the two islands has improved the level of security for Barbudan workers when they reach retirement age.
Since its founding in 1978 the Barbuda People's Movement has fought to bring a bright tomorrow for all Barbudans, fund-raising locally through food fairs and small donations from local people. Trevor Walker has retired from politics. He was defeated by Arthur Nibbs of the ABLP in the 2014 general election, even though he felt he had achieved some of the development required in Barbuda. The BPM has vowed to continue to campaign for self-determination as Barbudans step into the future. Read the 2009 manifesto here (PDF version 110KB)