Barbados was settled in 1627 and has had uninterrupted parliamentary government since 1639. It has been a sovereign independent state within the Commonwealth since November 30, 1966. The first elections based on universal adult suffrage took place in 1951.
The country's judicial, political and administrative institutions are patterned on the British system but have adapted to suit local circumstances. Barbados' Parliament which has been in existence for over 370 years is one of the oldest Westminster-type Parliaments in the Western hemisphere. Barbados has two houses of Parliament: an elected House of Assembly and an appointed Senate. The Governor General, Sir Clifford Husbands, represents the British Monarchy and is the Head of State with executive authority. This authority is vested in the Prime Minister and Cabinet, who are collectively responsible to Parliament.
The Honourable Freundel J. Stuart is the Prime Minister and leader of the Democratic Labour Party. The leader of the opposition is the Honourable Mia A. Mottley, who is also leader of the Barbados Labour Party.