Did you know that George Washington, the first president of the United States, once lived in Barbados? Just 19 years old, he visited the eastern Caribbean island in 1751 and lived there for about two months. He accompanied his older half-brother Lawrence, who had contracted tuberculosis and was hoping for a cure from the sun and sea air. Lawrence would die a year later of his ailment upon his return home to Virginia. For George, the Barbados visit was the only trip outside the U.S. for the future president.
What makes Barbados so different from other islands? “Barbados, because of its historical traditions, its very close connection with England, has always earned the distinction as being one of the jewels in the English crown in the Caribbean,” declared Minister of Culture, Sports, and Youth Stephen Lashley. “In fact, Barbados was once called ‘Little England’ and it is still seen like that in the eyes of our visitors, particularly coming from England and Europe.” Lashley explained how Barbadians embrace their culture.
Barbados is well known for its high standard of education and near 100 percent literacy rate, the highest in the English-speaking Caribbean. According to the island’s Minister of Education Ronald Jones those accomplishments are linked to historical factors. “We have no naturally formed resources,” Jones emphasized recently. “The only thing that we had was people, and that was the primary resource we had to develop, the mind.
Donville Inniss, minister of industry, international business, commerce and small business development, is a proud Barbadian. He credits the Caribbean island’s reputation as being a domicile of choice for international investors for making his job easier. He also noted that Barbados’s attractiveness to international investors has a historical base.