Barbados is open for business with the Welcome Stamp program that allows people to live and work remotely on the island for 12 months, and the Prime Minister confirmed LGBTQ+ couples are welcome and encouraged to apply, according to Loop News Barbados.
"I want to say that as long as I am prime minister of this nation, we welcome all. Everyone.” Prime Minister Mia Mottley said emphatically in a two-hour address to the country’s House of Assembly.
Same-sex sexual relations are currently illegal in the country with punishment up to life in prison, although the law is rarely if ever enforced, according to Equaldex.
Mottley, the country’s first female prime minister, was responding to concerns the Welcome Stamp program would discriminate against LGBTQ+ couples. An earlier version of the application defined marriage as “the relationship that subsists between a man and a woman” who are married legally or living together for at least five years. Mottley sees the program as a way to boost tourism following recent travel restrictions.
“You don’t need to work in Europe, or the US or Latin America if you can come here and work for a couple months at a time,” she said at the reopening of the Primo Bar and Bistro in Christ Church.
Initial European settlement of Barbados began with the British in 1627, and the small island was the scene of large sugar plantations using enslaved labor throughout its history until slavery was officially abolished in 1834. Barbados also has a deeply rooted bias against LGBTQ+ persons and rights. Mottley acknowledged this history in her speech, nothing her country had been “forged regrettably in the bowels of discrimination."
“The laws of the land must not act as a scourge on the lives of human beings,” she said in her speech. “The laws of this land must not act as an inhibitor to opportunity for our citizens."