Barbados–Trinidad and Tobago Relations - History


Early bilateral interactions occurred as both countries shared their colonial relationship as former parts of the British Empire. One of the first moves towards a more formal relationship between Barbados and Tobago began with an attempted move by Barbados to secure a British agreement for unification of Barbados and Tobago. The move however failed and Tobago continued on a path of administrative unification with Trinidad in 1889. Prior to this unification both Barbados and Tobago were parts of a British experiment of placing several neighboring British possessions in the Windward Islands under the administration of the Governor of Barbados. This formed the basis of the colony of Barbados and the Windward Islands. Barbados was involved in this colony from 1833 until 1885, while Tobago though was involved from 1833 until 1889. Upon the withdrawal of Barbados, the island lobbied the British government to amalgamate Tobago with Barbados but was unsuccessful and Tobago became a ward of Trinidad instead.

While Barbados was the only island in the West Indies which never witnessed a change in colonial power since the founding settlement there in 1627, both Trinidad and Tobago witnessed a rocky beginning after being sought after in rotation by several colonial powers.

Relations between Barbados and Trinidad have also been historical important with large instances of Barbadians emigrating to Trinidad and Trinidadians immigrating to Barbados. A Trinidadian the Right Excellent Clement Osbourne Payne was made a national hero of Barbados by the Barbadian government for his contribution to the trade union movement in Barbados.

Migration between both nations has traditionally been robust. In 1891 Trinidad's census showed a migration from Barbados of 13,890 Barbadians, while in 1946, figures showed over 12,350 persons in Trinidad & Tobago were born in Barbados.

In 2005, former Prime Minister of Barbados, the Rt. Hon. Owen Arthur quipped to the Barbados media that the Government of Barbados might contemplate political union of Tobago with Barbados as a single state. London as Chief Secretary of the THA stated that they would "choose Trinidad everytime", thereby dampening the idea of any future discussions.

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