Barbados introduces new metrication bill

A new Barbados Metrology Bill 2022 was recently introduced in the House of Assembly. Minister of Energy and Business Development Kerrie Symmonds has said that the failure of align Barbados’ metrology with international standards (i.e., failure to fully adopt the metric system) has incurred economic costs. Nation News reports that “Consumers could soon be getting protection from the state in regards to having measurement systems across the board that align with international standards.”.

Barbados used to use the imperial system and later changed over to the metric system. However, the changeover is not yet complete. Kerrie Symmonds said “We have contended ourselves with operating with the Imperial measurement system so that we understood yards, feet and inches. Nobody ever stopped to say why are you teaching one way but living in another.”. He continued, “We felt then, as many of us do now, that we can’t trouble ourselves to make the adjustment that the rest of the world has been making and has made. There are consequences to it and there have been consequences to it.”. Other reasons given for metrication in Barbados are to improve the competitiveness of the Barbados economy, diversify the economy and reduce national reliance on the tourism sector as the main source of economic growth.

Let’s hope that the British Government learns important lessons about Barbados’ motivation to go metric.

We would like to thank regular Metric Views reader Ezra Steinberg for bringing to our attention metrication efforts in Barbados. In a comment on the “First metrication reversal since Napoleon?” article, he writes “How ironic that this UK government wants to go backwards in measurement whilst Barbados is moving forward from Imperial to metric. Hurrah for Barbados! Time for the UK to catch up.”. We agree. Well said, Ezra.

You can read the full report on Barbados’ Nation News website at: (“Metrology Bill to help avoid financial “leakage”” by Jonteau Coppin, published on 5 October 2022)

5 thoughts on “Barbados introduces new metrication bill”

  1. In some ways Barbados is even further than the UK as road signs are sign posted in km/h like a modern sensible country and failure to do so is by far the biggest stumbling block. It is a shame that while the former colonies are leaving the UK in the dust politicians are not only happy to ignore it but were even considering regressing back to using antiquated units further. It is quite depressing for something that should have been dealt with decades ago.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It would be interesting to know how they calculated those economic costs and what they were. There is of course a price tag that comes with non-metrication.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Metricnow,

    I remember reading some years ago that many of the Caribbean Island nations were looking to China for investment in development. China told them they needed to complete the metrication process (among other things) first before they would invest. If China is to build factories in these countries they will do so in SI and the internal operations will be in SI, But for it to work, the population has to be fluent in SI. The only way for this to work is for the people to derive experience from using SI units in the market and home life. If the people don’t, then what is the point in investing?

    I’m sure the calculated costs are based on the lost investment that would result if they can’t show China they are serious about metrication.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. There is this common knowledge that Liberia and Myanmar are the only countries outside the USA that use Imperial. However, I found this article on a local Liberian news site that used only liters for the volume of water discussed there:

    I also found this web site about a guide to driving in Liberia where it emphatically states that speed limit signs show km/h (scroll down to “What Is the Unit Used to Measure Speed in Liberia?”)

    Note that the section describes Puerto Rico and Wales as their own countries! It also mentions Barbados as using Imperial but we know that country is converting.

    So much for Liberia using Imperial instead of metric. Now, if Myanmar is also converting to metric as I have seen mentioned in certain reports, then only the USA would be substantially using Imperial day-to-day instead of metric (leaving aside the metric muddle countries of Canada and the UK).

    So, there is hope (so long as the backsliding to Imperial proposed by the current UK government goes nowhere) that Imperial will finally go the way of the dodo once and for all.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. @Ezra

    Road speed limits in Myanmar are in km/h:

    “The speed limit in Myanmar is 48 kilometres per hour in built-up areas. This is not a typo, but a result of converting the old English speed limit of 30 miles per hour into kilometres per hour. This means that in theory, you can be fined if you drive 50 km/h, but this rule is generally not very strictly enforced. Outside built-up areas, the speed limit is 80 km/h and on highways 100 km/h.”

    Belize, on the other hand, apparently does have imperial speed limits:


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