It is no secret to the BU family and elsewhere the man behind the Barbados Welcome Stamp is Peter Lawrence Thompson. To his credit he thanked the BU family for helping him give birth to the concept.

The Barbados Welcome Stamp is a work programme which establishes a visa to allow people to work remotely in Barbados for a maximum of 12 months. The visa is available to anyone who meets the visa requirements and whose work is location independent, whether individuals or families – see Barbados Welcome Stamp FAQs.

It is with regret the government implemented Peter’s idea which has been quickly copied by several countries in the region. To date Peter has not received official recognition from the Barbados government. The refusal by government to give Peter his due is immoral and unethical, take your pick. To rub salt in the wound he was not selected to sit on a face saving panel to come up with a new brand slogan after the Little Island, Big Barbados campaign was jettisoned by Prime Minister Mia Mottley. In the same way the prime minister has intervened in this matter and others before it, she needs to remove this stain from whatever legacy she is building for herself and the country. Also political and NGO voices must speak up for what is right.

We will never know if the reason Mottley shelved the campaign is based on political considerations with an eye on a 2023 general election. What the blogmaster knows is Peter Lawrence Thompson should have been asked to sit on the so-called Destination Reboot Panel. The truth is if he was asked it would be an admission of what is blatantly being denied.

1. Sir Hilary Beckles – Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, historian, Chair.

2. Most Honourable Anthony Gabby Carter.

3. Gayle Talma – hotelier.

4. Renee Coppin – hotelier – Infinity on the Beach and Pirates Inn hotels.

5. Mark Kent – hotelier, Butterfly Beach Hotel.

6. Stedson Red Plastic Bag Wiltshire – entertainment industry professional.

7. Rorrey Fenty – entertainment executive.

8. Dillon Atkinson – hotel worker.

9. Krystal Griffin – hotel worker.

10. Abraham Norville – water sports operator.

11. Tyronne Best – Airport Taxi Association.

12. Josea Browne – Book and formerly from

13. Aisha Comissiong – creative industry professional.

14. Anthony Walrond – former chairman of the National Cultural Foundation (NCF).

15. Dean Straker – entertainment industry professional.

16. Carol Roberts – CEO, NCF.

17. Andrea Franklin – country manager, Harrison’s Cave.

18. Wayne Cummins – World of Water Sports.

Destination Barbados Reboot Panel

Welcome Stamp: good idea but not Elixir

Submitted by Richard Petko

These pages have been inundated with comments concerning the Welcome Stamp (WS). I don’t wish to disparage the concept (with all respect to PLT), but the notion that Barbados can earn new amounts of foreign exchange from it or transition to a long-stay tourism/work model as opposed to regular tourism model are completely unrealistic.

The first point I wish to stress is the Welcome Stamp is no more than a 1 year tourist visa. A visa that costs $2000 USD for singles and $3000 USD for families. I mention these amounts because they have become a sore point for most of the people I have met.

As a foreigner living in Barbados I have had contact with over 20 WS families and a handful of WS singles. Why did they come here? The families arrived from Canada/USA/UK because they wanted their children to experience face to face schooling. In September private schools in Barbados offered this. As well there was a sense of adventure the families were looking for; but the over-riding reason was education. The singles I have met came for a year of fun and adventure. They did not know what the future would hold in their countries, so they decided to take the plunge.

We are now 9 months into the welcome stamp experience and I can share my observations of why the program serves a purpose but will never lead to an economic transformation.

Regarding the families, every single one is planning to go home as in-school learning is a reality in Canada, UK and the USA. In fact, I already know of 2 families that have left Barbados for Miami since January 6th when this government decided to shut down face to face schools. They now have their children attending classes in Florida. I know of only one family that is contemplating staying here another year, the other 19 are on their way out. Most of them have enjoyed their time here, but the reality is Covid pushed their decision and without Covid life shall return to normal for them.

When it comes to the singles, adventure brought them here, but after 1 year the adventure streak has passed. I feel this cohort may be one that the Welcome Stamp attracts in the future, but again for only one-year timelines.
Both cohorts tend to have the same negative experiences in regards to the program and living in Barbados.

The cost of the WS Program

It didn’t take long for these people to realize you can come to Barbados and stay for 6 months on a tourist stamp for free; then can extend your tourist visa for 6 months at a cost of $100 – Needless to say all of them felt ripped-off by the cost of the program. I do not think the program can continue at its present cost because the word is out. Not to mention other jurisdictions also now have similar programs at lower price points. Now that a welcome stamp person knows they can extend a visa for $100 there is no reason to pay for the welcome stamp.

  • Other laments that I have heard, which are familiar to us all.
  • Cost of food
  • Cost of clothing
  • Hassles with customs department – One individual broke their iPhone, shipped it back to USA for warranty repair and had to argue for 3 weeks with customs when the phone was returned to not have to pay import duties on it.
  • For the singles, 4-5 nightspots. When accustomed to Las Vegas/Miami nightlife most places including Barbados come up short
  • Bad roads and lighting. I know of numerous women and men who simply refuse to drive the roads especially at night. This is an issue they don’t face in their home countries.

These may seem trivial but they are not. Not every welcome stamp family is one of millionaires. They are middle class families renting small houses on the south coast and a shopping trip to Price Smart is not a frivolous event for them. For the singles, breaking an iPhone or a iMac and then trying to find a replacement or have it fixed is quite crucial to their personal and business life.

The main selling point of Barbados is no doubt the weather, but warm weather and nice beaches cannot over-come major living issues. We have to remember Barbados is not in competition with just the Caribbean, it is in competition with Texas or Florida or California. People from the northern climates next year post-Covid will look at Tampa Bay or San Diego as a place to live for a year. In those locales they will have world class roads, shopping, food choice and entertainment options aplenty. For someone from Boston they will also not have to worry about visa applications or fees.

The Welcome Stamp is an idea that needs to be reviewed and optimized. If tweaked correctly It can offer a marginal stream of people and revenues to Barbados, but it is no magical potion to bring Barbados hundreds of millions of dollars.

Grenville Phillips Speaks – Welcome Stamp

The Government has implemented a welcome stamp program, where visitors can work from Barbados for up to one year.  They can also apply for an extension.

This is one program that was well conceptualised, well designed, and well implemented.  The main beneficiaries are property owners, businesses, and the Government.

This should be an exemplar for all Government plans.  Its opposite is the Ross University initiative, where Ross students were forced to stay at the Coverley properties.  This automatically disqualified all but a chosen few from benefiting.

For the Welcome Stamp initiative to be sustainable, we must all do our part in making our long-stay visitor have a delightful experience in Barbados.

There is one foreseen risk – crime.  We are graduating a majority of students with no academic certificates and no marketable skills.  Entry level jobs are competitive.  Therefore, many see their only options as engaging in illegal activities.  This should have been urgently addressed a long time ago.

The solution remains simple – modify the secondary school curriculum so that our students graduate with marketable skills.  Former Minister of Education, Ronald Jones, did a lot of talking, but no action on this critical matter.  The current Minister of Education is copying her predecessor exactly.  We seem to be waiting for the foreseen risk to be realised before doing anything about it.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer.  He can be reached at

Adrian Loveridge Column – Barbados Welcome Stamp a ‘Hit’

There can be no reasonable doubt that the 12 month Barbados Welcome Stamp initiative has brought the destination an almost unparalleled level of media and public awareness and kudos to all those involved in its conception and ongoing content enhancement.

Amongst, the latest exposure is the planned Lion Television Scotland 60 minute documentary, which in their words, will ‘follow adventurous British families and individuals as they take an almighty plunge and relocate in the middle of a global pandemic, to work remotely from Barbados’.

According to the news release ‘the documentary will follow millennial Ashley, who only needs his laptop to work as a 3D digital animator, young family Kris and Brigitta and their three children who have been enrolled in a local school and Steve and Amanda. Amanda has recently retired and plans to get to know the island and its locals, while Steve works remotely for a pharmaceutical company’.

When filmed and edited the show will be aired on the UK’s Channel 4.

Popular shows on this channel, like Celebrity Bake Off have recently attracted overnight audiences of 4.4 million and Googlebox, a television reality series, 4.9 million. Interestingly, the TV Station reported, following extensive research, they have recorded up to a 38 per cent year-on-year growth to the number of 16 to 34 year olds tuning into the channel, bucking past trends. This at a time, when many conclude, that younger demographics are almost exclusively sourcing information and entertainment through other social media options.

Jo Street, Channel 4’s Head of Daytime and Head of Hub, Glasgow, who oversees the UK wide daytime commissioning team, said ‘Welcome to Barbados will bring audiences some much needed sunshine and give them the chance to escape the harsh realities of 2020, whilst dreaming about life in a hammock, on the beach… Now where do I get my Visa’?

This sort of extensive coverage can only impact positively on a destination, while helping drive additional long term visitors.
Each of these so-called ‘digital nomads’ of course requires somewhere to stay, a rented apartment, house or villa. They all have to eat, whether shopping in supermarkets or dining at our myriad of eating establishments, possibly hire a car on a long term basis, whilst paying their fair share of taxes to Government.
It has to be a win-win for everyone.

Since the Barbados Welcome Stamp was launched it has been expanded to offer a number of goods and services of particular interest to visa applicants, to make temporary relocation less challenging.

Hopefully all our tourism partners will fully evaluate the potential of this new market source and target their particular product by offering added special concessions and discounts. After all, they are beneficially piggy- backing onto this pioneering proven concept that has not cost the individual sector players a single cent in promotional costs.