Barbados Economic Information
The Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry or the ‘Commercial Hall’ as it was called initially, was founded in 1825.Without a doubt, the Chamber has been the single most powerful channel for promoting positive economic growth for both commercial and industrial businesses in Barbados. It continues to provide members with focused leadership and a strong voice to promote the interests of the business community. It has stood the test of time and continues to influence the social, economic and business structures that lend to the creation of an environment that bolsters and encourages sustainable economic progress for the country.
The origin, development and perils of the Chamber have rarely been at the core of Barbadian or West Indian historiography. The most comprehensive account thus far is owed to the efforts of Peter F. Campbell who produced a work entitled Commercial Hall. Here, Campbell examined the history of the Barbados Chamber of Commerce from 1825 to the early 1900s. In Campbell’s view, the organization facilitated the development of the business sector because of its political influence.The actual establishment of the Commercial Hall has been attributed to the work of one man, Henry George Windsor. He was the founder and first Chairman of the Hall.
The Chamber was actively involved in monitoring international developments that would affect the economic standing of the island.
In the twentieth century, Commercial Hall continued to grow and increasingly became more relevant to all classes of Barbadian society, especially the government. In fact, there were several instances where the local government relied on the Hall’s expertise for advice on sensitive trade matters and they were occasionally requested to represent the country on these matters. Another striking feature of the Hall in this century was the growing sense of regionalism. This regionalism was exhibited in cooperation with other West Indian Chambers of Commerce and even through expressions of goodwill towards countries that needed aid.
On 11th August, 1868 an Act came into operation ‘incorporating the Society called the Commercial Hall, in the island of Barbados with Limited Liability.’ In 1909 an amendment was made and the title of the body was changed from “Commercial Hall” to the “Barbados Chamber of Commerce.” However, This Act is no longer enforced as it was replaced by the 1983 Chamber of Commerce Act. This Act would have extended the Chamber’s core objectives and functions to also promote the manufacturing sector. The word ‘Industry’ was added to the Chamber’s name to help reflect the sector’s importance to the island’s economy.
Beginning in 1910, the Chamber was actively involved in monitoring international developments that would affect the economic standing of the island. In a meeting of 27th July 1910, under the leadership of Acting President Hon. J.O. Wright, the Chamber petitioned the Government to allocate funds for the promotion of the island of Barbados as a health resort in the London newspapers.