What Type of Government Does Antigua and Barbuda Have?

Flag of Antigua and Barbuda.
Flag of Antigua and Barbuda.

Antigua and Barbuda is a cluster of two islands between the Caribbean Sea, the North Atlantic Ocean, and Puerto Rico to the east-southeast. The islands have an area 442.6 square kilometers and a population of 90,800 people. Antigua and Barbuda also has a 153-kilometer coastline, and is 2.5 times the size of Washington DC. It is one of Caribbean’s islands wealthiest nations due to the vibrant tourism and offshore financial services sectors. This islands are famed for coral reef-lined beaches, luxury resorts, lush Antigua rainforest, and the many recreational activities available, like hiking and Zipline tours.

Capital of Antigua and Barbuda

The largest city in Antigua and Barbuda is St John’s, the nation’s capital, which has a population of about 22,000. The city is also the nation’s main port city, commercial, and administrative hub. The two towers of St John’s Cathedral are its most unique landmarks. The East Caribbean Dollar is the nation’s currency, English is he main language spoken in Antigua and Barbuda, Christianity is the dominant religion. St John is also the administrative capital of Antigua and Barbuda, and hosts the country's parliament and the government house, which serves as the office and official residence of the governor-general.

Executive Branch of Government

Antigua and Barbuda is a Commonwealth realm, and therefore the head of state is the reigning monarch, Queen Elizabeth II. However, she is represented by the governor-general, appointed by the queen, on advice from the nation’s elected prime minister. The governor-general’s role has been in place since the country's independence in 1981. The role is mostly ceremonial, but the governor-general has powers to dissolve parliament on the prime minister’s advice, and during emergencies, according to the Nexus Commonwealth Network. The governor-general appoints a 17 member senate on advice from the prime minister and opposition leader. There is also a house of representatives with 17 members elected for a 5-year term, like the prime minister. This house of representatives and the senate structure make this a bicameral legislature with parliamentary democracy. The house members craft legislations which are reviewed and approved by the senate.

Legislative Branch of Government

In Antigua and Barbuda, the prime minister is the head of government, assisted by a cabinet that reports to parliament, when running the nation’s affairs. The prime minister also appoints the cabinet from members of parliament and heads the majority party in the house of representatives. Antigua and Barbuda has a unitary government style, with a central government the prime minister heads. The arm of the local government is run by the Barbuda Council that reports to the central government. The council has two ex-officio members in the senate and house of representatives.

Judicial Branch of Government

For legal issues, Antigua and Barbuda have two high court judges residing in the country in the court of summary jurisdiction. There are also magistrates who hear the less heinous crimes. The country is also a member of Eastern Caribbean Supreme Court, which has nine independent Caribbean nations, and has legal jurisdiction in each of them.


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