Abstract: The Role of Government in the Development of the Electricity Service in Barbados, 1911-1980

Henderson Carter

Abstract

Barbados has had a public electricity service since 1911, provided first by the Barbados Electric Supply Corporation and then its successor, the Barbados Light & Power Co., Ltd. Such a service, starting in the island's capital city, Bridgetown, and moving into the rural areas, has been central the country's development. In this essay I argue that government played a key role in the development of the service, first as facilitator through legislation in the period up to 1950. Then, with the coming of ministerial government and independence, government, in an effort to push its modernization program, placed pressure on the electricity provider to expand its operations and invested in the company. This expansion paved the way for the provision of a sound electricity infrastructure, which secured the successful diversification of the island's economy and the transformation of the society.

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