Peaceful Assembly

Protests are relatively frequent in Barbados and usually peaceful – recent protests have addressed a range of issues including unfair dismissal of workers, opposition to a new government tax and a hike in student fees. Barbados’ laws on public gatherings fall short of international standards and best practices related to peaceful assembly. Rather than simply notifying the authorities of their intention to gather, organisers of public meetings, marches and processions must first obtain prior permission, in the form of a permit from the Commissioner of Police. They must also list the names of all non-citizens who are due to speak at those events. The law also grants a government minister sweeping powers to ban meetings and protests in whole areas of the country, if he or she deems that to be ‘in the interest of public safety.’