Date of Award


Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


Latin American, Caribbean, and U.S. Latino Studies

Advisor/Committee Chair

Christine Vassallo-Oby


This research project explains the correlation between the tourism sector and Barbados’s cycle of debt. Barbados has continuously incurred debt, from international financing institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, since its independence from Great Britain in 1966. As of 2017, the estimated national debt of Barbados is $7.92 billion (USD).[1] Sir Hillary Beckles, Michael Howard, and other economic experts and professors at the University of the West Indies, believe the country has gone into debt for a variety of different reasons. Barbados incurred such a staggering debt due in part to its violent history of chattel slavery, the decline of the island’s sugar industry, and the migration of citizens who wanted more opportunities than were available on the island. I agree with these Bajan scholars that no one factor has singularly contributed to create the nation’s debt. However, the shift to tourism as the island’s leading industry has caused the debt to increase significantly. As a result of the increasing debt, citizens are being laid off and are paying higher taxes. Despite these implications, the government clearly favors continued tourism development by recently reducing corporate taxation by twenty percent in 2018.[2] As a result, China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC), Sandals Resort International, and other international corporations have benefited greatly from these tax breaks and contracts which have allowed them to establish their businesses on the island. The government’s frivolous actions of giving away money to many non-Bajan private and corporate investors for the purposes of international tourism has ultimately hurt the economy and the citizens of Barbados.”