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 sixteen 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 Barbuda Labour Party won a landslide victory over the UPP government to take control of fourteen 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 ABLP since the Bird family lost the 2004 election. Arthur Nibbs represents Barbuda as our MP 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-basis in the administration buildings shown here, and was established in 1976 by the Barbuda Local Government Act, which created a Council of eleven 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 4 years with elections held every two years in March with 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 - (268) 460-0077
Chairman of Councils Office - (268) 460-0001
Tourism - (268) 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, (via St Johns, Antigua) West Indies.
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 - forming numerous different political parties along the way - 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) at various intervals until this year - where he has finally found success delivering Barbuda to the ABLP.
Arthur is already a Senator and Chairman of Barbuda Council following the 2013 Council elections, when both Gaston Brown and Asot Michael came to Barbuda to support the ABLP in his Barbuda campaign. He is now MP, given the Minister for Agriculture, Lands and Barbuda Affairs position, but controversially conrtinues to hold onto Chairman of Council, Chairman of Finance and various other positions.
On 1 November 2004 Hilbourne Frank was knighted for his dedication to serving the people of Barbuda in the political field for over forty 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 sixties 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, and has personally pursued a number of legal cases to establish Barbudan's rights to ownership of the islands sand - which was illegally mined for many years by members of the Antiguan government - and to their land rights and self determination through the Barbuda Land Act.
He served as Barbuda's sole 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 in Barbuda is the Barbuda branch of the Antigua Labour Party in Antigua, now led by Prime Minister Gaston Brown following the illness of Lester Bird, son of Vere Bird and part of the Bird family political dynasty who controlled Antiguan and Barbudan government until 2004. Their website is here - Antigua and Barbuda Labour Party.
The last ten years 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 Government and the Barbuda Peoples Movement, and the improved relationship between these two parties eradicated at least a quarter of a century of mistrust, confrontation and confusion fostered by the former Antigua Labour Party administration. This included their ruthless exploitation of the natural resources of Barbuda through sand mining and through their wanton allocation of Barbudan land to so called 'investors' who do not have the islands' interest at heart, relegating Barbudans 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 which fully 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 Antigua and Barbuda Government website.
Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer gave the Barbuda Peoples Movement MP, Trevor Walker, a Cabinet position - Minister for Works and Transport - and this recognition of the partnership with Barbudan people was to bring many benefits to Barbuda. These include major improvements in the previously neglected infrastructural aspects of the islands economy; a new and expanded roads network, greatly improved electrical supply, the installation of a reverse osmosis water supply system, greater educational opportunities for young Barbudans overseas, radical improvements in the Health and Social Welfare provisions of the Council, a new Community Centre and a Fisheries building. A Pensions Act introduced into the legislative structure of the two islands has improved the level of security for workers on the island once they have reached the age of retirement.
For the past thirty years (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. In spite of the recent election results and Trevor Walkers retirement from politics having achieved some of the development that was required on Barbuda, the BPM will continue to campaign for self-determination as we step into the future. Read the 2009 manifesto here (PDF version 110KB)