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Moving to Barbados - advise needed!

Moving to Barbados - advise needed!

Old Jun 19th 2006, 3:06 pm
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Default Moving to Barbados - advise needed!

Hi there,

We're thinking of moving to Barbados. Can you help us with some advice?

First: schools. We have a baby and a nearly 4 year old. Can you recomend any schools - and how to find out about them from the UK? Are they all in Bridgetown and are there any international schools?

Second: can anyone settle in Barbados? Just buy a property and that's it? We are self-financing - self-employed - any restrictions?

Third - how easy is it to make friends - particularly with other mothers with small kids? Are there a lot of expats and are they welcoming to new faces?

Fourth - what about the hurrican season, anything to worry about?

Also, which is the nicest place to live? I know it is a personal thing but any recommendations? We have stayed on holiday on the west coast but is there a lively community there or is it just too touristy?

I have also, considered my other favourite island of Anguilla but I think it may be too small and I don't know if there are any good schools. Does anyone have any experience of that or any other island they can recommend? We need to put the kids first so schooling and health/hospitals are a priority.

Thanks so much!

Linda
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Old Jun 22nd 2006, 5:21 pm
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Smile Re: Moving to Barbados - advise needed!

Hello

I have no clue about Barbados, but in all caribbean islands there is some kind of expat community.

Anguilla is beautiful but it is very small and it is quite difficult to get a work permit, depending on what job you do. I think most of them are financial related, but there isn't a huge need for expats (unlike in other caribbean islands). Having said that, it is growing though.

Hurrican season is now til end of October, although the majority are between August and September. Yes it is something to worry about if one is about to hit! You should have seen Cayman after Ivan, a lot of people lost their homes.

Depending on waht you do, wether you want to work, you may also like to consider Cayman, Bermuda or here.

Good luck!
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Old Jun 22nd 2006, 5:53 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Barbados - advise needed!

Hi Mary,
Many thanks for your reply. I wonder if you need a work permit if you are - as we are - just writers who sell our work in the UK? It is rather difficult to find out.

I have also read on this site a lot of tales about anti-white feeling on the islands - this does worry me a lot. Is it a reality, do you think? I'd hate to put my kids through that.

Many thanks again,

Linda
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Old Jun 22nd 2006, 6:12 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Barbados - advise needed!

Originally Posted by flaxhigh
Hi Mary,
Many thanks for your reply. I wonder if you need a work permit if you are - as we are - just writers who sell our work in the UK? It is rather difficult to find out.

I have also read on this site a lot of tales about anti-white feeling on the islands - this does worry me a lot. Is it a reality, do you think? I'd hate to put my kids through that.

Many thanks again,

Linda
Hello,

I can't comment on Barbados, but here (and I think Anguilla, they closely follow the labour requirements here) you would not need a work permit, however you will need some kind of resident pass. I think if you buy a house then they will give you yearly residency (but not PERMANENT residency, that is very very difficult to get).

I can honestly say that parents who live here think it is the best thing that they have done for their children, and I think it is. We have private schools where the expat children go to and most parents know each other. Anti-white? ah ah ah, if you can cope with some attitude then all will be fine. I have never had any problems. What is more frustrating is how SLLOOOOWW everything is..
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Old Jun 22nd 2006, 9:25 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Barbados - advise needed!

That is interesting. I wonder how big the ex-pat school is on your island? Are there enough English speaking children to enable each age group to have their own class? I know in the Highlands of Scotland kids have to share with 3 other age groups because numbers are so small.

So there is attitude. I wonder how this manifests? Are you blamed just for being there - even if you are not supposedly taking the islander's jobs? Or just treated like an idiot/ or just hassled a lot on the street?

Barbados was bad in this, I found, and St. Lucia less so but there was still some problem there. The smaller islands I've visited were better - particularly St. Barths - but mainly because most people are white - and to a lesser extent, Saba - again because the numbers were more level between white and black. Sad,though isn't it? How do you cope with it and does it get you down? I'd be able to ignore it but I wonder if my husband would?

Which island are you on? Do you find you need to get off the island a lot? Are you from the UK? And if you have kids - have you worried about tropical diseases? As a mother of small children, one does tend to think of these things!

Best wishes

Linda
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Old Jun 22nd 2006, 9:50 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Barbados - advise needed!

Originally Posted by flaxhigh
That is interesting. I wonder how big the ex-pat school is on your island? Are there enough English speaking children to enable each age group to have their own class? I know in the Highlands of Scotland kids have to share with 3 other age groups because numbers are so small.

So there is attitude. I wonder how this manifests? Are you blamed just for being there - even if you are not supposedly taking the islander's jobs? Or just treated like an idiot/ or just hassled a lot on the street?

Barbados was bad in this, I found, and St. Lucia less so but there was still some problem there. The smaller islands I've visited were better - particularly St. Barths - but mainly because most people are white - and to a lesser extent, Saba - again because the numbers were more level between white and black. Sad,though isn't it? How do you cope with it and does it get you down? I'd be able to ignore it but I wonder if my husband would?

Which island are you on? Do you find you need to get off the island a lot? Are you from the UK? And if you have kids - have you worried about tropical diseases? As a mother of small children, one does tend to think of these things!

Best wishes

Linda
I think it is difficult to compare other caribbean islands to Tortola (where I live) and say, Cayman and Bermuda. The locals here are rich. It is not like St Lucia where they wash their clothes in the river. Here they drive big expensive cars and own a lot of property. They all have good jobs. Half the population is ex pat. Mostly from other caribbean islands but a lot from the UK/US/Canada etc. I don't think the issue you had in Barbados is here. Yes, occasionaly you may get some sarky comment, or you may get attitude at the store, or you may experience some very rude people (of the type where they just cannot even bear to look at you rather than anything being said), but it is not a problem. It really isn't. I experienced just as bad in the UK, but for some reason everyone is so quick to blame the race card. If you go to any island you have to respect that it is THEIR island and not yours. In fact it will never be yours, as they don't grant citizenship. A lot of people come here, throw their weight about, and then complain about being discriminated. Anyway, I could go on but I won't. Let me finish that I prefer to be with even the rudest person here than with all the yobs that live in the UK.

Well, a lot of the schools here are private, although only 2 are worth mentioning. One is a Montessori school. The other school has a class for each age group (in fact they have to turn kids away every year), and I think there is a limit of about 15/20 per class, I am not sure. Apparently both are very good schools.

Yes, I need to try and get off the island a lot, although it is very easy to fly to Puerto Rico/the States/Other islands. The problem here is that time flies, we don't have seasons, so sometimes I don't know which month we are in.

Ah ah tropical diseases.. Like what???? Never heard of any, the hospital is OK and can deal with most things, if not they fly you over to Puerto Rico. We even have a plastic surgery clinic! I am not sure about other islands though, there was a case of dengue fever not so long ago in St Thomas (US Vigin Islands) but that is about it...

Mary
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Old Jun 25th 2006, 10:52 am
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Default Re: Moving to Barbados - advice needed!

Hi Mary,

I'm so grateful for your advice. I have been doing a lot of thinking and have now switched my focus from Barbados to Tortola!

I have looked up the Montessori school (you don't happen to know the name of the other school, do you?) and it looks divine. I have emailed them for info about admissions. I think the BVi's may well be what we are looking for.

I would be most interested to hear your story, Mary, of how you came to live there and why. Did you rent first and then buy? What were your experiences of buying? It sounds rather complicated and the transfer tax and insurance are very high, it seems to me. I think we would rent first - you couldn't recommend a good estate agents, could you. I have tried online but there is little for rent on there. Maybe the best thing to do is just get a holiday let to start off with and then look around long term rents when we are there?

Do you need to get off the island for work? Or just need to for sanity?! Do you have kids, Mary and if so, do they enjoy tthe lifestyle? Is there a particular place I should be looking to live in Tortola - what are the favoured areas?

I think Virgin Gorda looks so pretty but I guess all the facilities particularly for children are on Tortola, am I right?

I am so graetful to you for your advise. I have so much to organise, it is fantastic to have a source of help who has been through it all already!I'm sorry to ask so many questions - it is suprisingly difficult to find these things out on the internet which is usually such a good source of information. Hence the fabulousness of this site!

Sending very best wishes

Linda
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Old Jun 26th 2006, 2:10 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Barbados - advice needed!

Originally Posted by flaxhigh
Hi Mary,

I'm so grateful for your advice. I have been doing a lot of thinking and have now switched my focus from Barbados to Tortola!

I have looked up the Montessori school (you don't happen to know the name of the other school, do you?) and it looks divine. I have emailed them for info about admissions. I think the BVi's may well be what we are looking for.

I would be most interested to hear your story, Mary, of how you came to live there and why. Did you rent first and then buy? What were your experiences of buying? It sounds rather complicated and the transfer tax and insurance are very high, it seems to me. I think we would rent first - you couldn't recommend a good estate agents, could you. I have tried online but there is little for rent on there. Maybe the best thing to do is just get a holiday let to start off with and then look around long term rents when we are there?

Do you need to get off the island for work? Or just need to for sanity?! Do you have kids, Mary and if so, do they enjoy tthe lifestyle? Is there a particular place I should be looking to live in Tortola - what are the favoured areas?

I think Virgin Gorda looks so pretty but I guess all the facilities particularly for children are on Tortola, am I right?

I am so graetful to you for your advise. I have so much to organise, it is fantastic to have a source of help who has been through it all already!I'm sorry to ask so many questions - it is suprisingly difficult to find these things out on the internet which is usually such a good source of information. Hence the fabulousness of this site!

Sending very best wishes

Linda
Hello Linda
I have sent you a personal message
Mary
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Old Jun 26th 2006, 3:53 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Barbados - advice needed!

Mary,
I'm not sure if you got my private message but anyay, I just thought I'd say that I have rung the BVI immigration department who assured me that there was no way 'that anyone can just come and live in the BVI' - as the man said! - I can't see there is any way forward as the immigration office is the first point of call. Only if you have a work permit, he said, can you apply for residency. We are not working. Or rather we earn our money sporadically (but fruitfully!) by writing. But that wouldn't make any difference over there as we sell over here. And anyway, not sure I would necessarily be writing all the time over there. Otherwise, he said, 'we sometimes grant 6 months residency at a time' for outsiders who own property over here so they can winter in the BVI. That's it. Oh, I said, well that was a short bit of research then; are you sure there are no other ways to live in the BVI - ie, retire there? No, No way.

Any thoughts?

Best wishes

Linda
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Old Jun 26th 2006, 4:03 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Barbados - advice needed!

Originally Posted by flaxhigh
Mary,
I'm not sure if you got my private message but anyay, I just thought I'd say that I have rung the BVI immigration department who assured me that there was no way 'that anyone can just come and live in the BVI' - as the man said! - I can't see there is any way forward as the immigration office is the first point of call. Only if you have a work permit, he said, can you apply for residency. We are not working. Or rather we earn our money sporadically (but fruitfully!) by writing. But that wouldn't make any difference over there as we sell over here. And anyway, not sure I would necessarily be writing all the time over there. Otherwise, he said, 'we sometimes grant 6 months residency at a time' for outsiders who own property over here so they can winter in the BVI. That's it. Oh, I said, well that was a short bit of research then; are you sure there are no other ways to live in the BVI - ie, retire there? No, No way.

Any thoughts?

Best wishes

Linda
Ah ah ah, I will definitely send you a personal message on this.
Give me 1 hour...
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Old Jun 27th 2006, 4:20 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Barbados - advise needed!

Switch your focus back to Barbados, it's an infinitely better island than Tortola. The people are nicer, the education is better and it's easier to get to from the UK and easier to get to other islands.

I went to school in Barbados and the standard of education there is better than in the UK. Instead of doing GCSEs the children do the equivalent of O-levels, because of that when I came back Blighty to do my A-levels, it was so much easier and I walked into university.

I went to St. Winifred's School, which is an international fee paying school but cheap in comparison to Public schools in the UK. It takes children from the preps 3/4 to 16. If you send your children to St. Winifred's or the Convent (both on the outskirts of Bridgetown, close to Christ Church) you will meet loads of international parents and there is a strong sense of community so you won't struggle to meet people.

Re: Hurricanes, Barbados is the most easterly of all the islands and doesn't get affected by hurricanes as dramatically as other islands do. The last terrible, devastating hurricane was in the early 50s.

I'm biased, I know, but having been to the majority of the windward and leeward islands I would recommend only Barbados to live as the others pretty backwards and not as developed.

I hope this helps.

Joanna
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Old Jul 10th 2006, 2:04 am
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Smile Re: Moving to Barbados - advise needed!

Originally Posted by flaxhigh
Hi there,

We're thinking of moving to Barbados. Can you help us with some advice?

First: schools. We have a baby and a nearly 4 year old. Can you recomend any schools - and how to find out about them from the UK? Are they all in Bridgetown and are there any international schools?

Second: can anyone settle in Barbados? Just buy a property and that's it? We are self-financing - self-employed - any restrictions?

Third - how easy is it to make friends - particularly with other mothers with small kids? Are there a lot of expats and are they welcoming to new faces?

Fourth - what about the hurrican season, anything to worry about?

Also, which is the nicest place to live? I know it is a personal thing but any recommendations? We have stayed on holiday on the west coast but is there a lively community there or is it just too touristy?

I have also, considered my other favourite island of Anguilla but I think it may be too small and I don't know if there are any good schools. Does anyone have any experience of that or any other island they can recommend? We need to put the kids first so schooling and health/hospitals are a priority.

Thanks so much!

Linda
Hey Linda,

I just happen to be surfing by and saw your post online.

-- In terms of school in Barbados (if you're still wondering). School in Barbados are scattered through-out the Country. There are both government owned schools as well as private. And all of these schools ranger in type some are all boys schools. some are all girls. The overall majority are co-ed. There are also either 1-2 Montessori schools I believe in Barbados. The government is also working on making most schools better for students with special needs.

They range in all different types. I also believe the Americans and Canadians each? have an International School located in Barbados for children that get brought with parents needing to work in the Barbados offshore sector but not wanting to get confused switching from a US/Canadian education system to a Barbados school system etc. Also Barbados has a British High Commission so if you do visit they'd be the spot to ask about International Schools and if Britain has one too. I think the Princess Margaret School in Barbados is an "International" school but I don't recall of which country.

Many of the schools in Barbados were online. Courtesy of Cable and Wireless (The local telecom provider) however in recent years competition has been taking a toll on them and I think their directory service is the first thing to suffer. I'm affraid they (C&W) appear asleep at the helm interms of Barbados school websites: http://www.schools.org.bb/

Also the Barbados Ministry of Education's website is:
http://www.mes.gov.bb/

-- Interms of property Barbados is *said* to have some of the most relaxed property laws in the Caribbean. (Except when it comes to Beaches -- you only own up to the high-tide mark if you're property is on the Beach.) You would probably want to become an Perm. Resident of Barbados first for a little while and then file for citizenship. I'm in the US and even with the mailing back and forth, after filing for my citizenship in Barbados in November, 2001 I was granted it by June, 2002. So it tends to move along pretty fast. From forms to actually getting you're card stating you're a citizen of Barbados under (whatever section of the Barbados constitution.) Since you're self employed you shouldn't have much problem. But If you become a citizen down the road, you're entitled to any job in Barbados.

There's also quite a few famous people you may see around Barbados. Because it is soo easy to get land many famous people can sneek by for quite some time unknown in Barbados. Usually you'll only know they have a house there if you're seeing that prominent person often.

In terms of Brits around. There are quite a bit in Barbados still...

The past two summers Tony Blair even has been hiding out in Barbados. I'm wondering if he's going to do it again this august. He usually comes to the island right when Carnival kicks into high gear, then you'll usually see his wife and kids hanging out at the stadium.

--
No 10 confirms Blair in Barbados
Last Updated: Monday, 22 August 2005, 11:44 GMT 12:44 UK

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/4173170.stm

-or-
http://travelvideo.tv/news/more.php?id=A3638_0_1_0_M
--

-- In terms of making friends. You'd actually have to try pretty hard not-- to make friends in Barbados. Everyone in Barbados is really friendly. Think old 1800's London, England and that is pretty much the morals/values and over all mood that you'll find in Barbados. It almost seems stuck in time.

-- In terms of hurricanes. Barbados gets more tropical storms than hurricanes. Mainly due to the fact it's soon near the equator (only 10 degrees north). The tradewinds which keep the island so cool(especially at night.) also mean that tropical storms/tropical depressions which just form off Africa rarely have enough time to turn into hurricanes when passing over Barbados. Tropical storms tend to either pass just north of Barbados and strengthen into hurricanes after passing Barbados or else passing just to the south of Barbados (as hurricane Ivan did.) and those are the hurricanes you have to watch for because those sometimes blow back from the west towards Barbados as hurricanes. Barbados tends to just get brushed as the jet stream pushes stronger storms towards the other islands further north.

But if you're wanting to buy a home and very nervous about hurricane here's what to ask when buying a home. Ask if the home/property has "hurricane belts" or "hurricane straps" or if it will be easy to have them retrofitted on the property. That's the technology being put into most Caribbean houses now to deal with this new generation of stronger storms. Basically it's a system that fastens down your roof (via the inside of the walls down to the home's foundation. Usually if you suffer hurricane damage, a roof is the first to go. And then the walls inside the house second. The hurricane straps make it so that you can ride out the very strongest of storms safely. Most buildings in the Caymans should be installing those now I think.

Barbados doesn't get hit often only brushed by any sort of significant wind once every ~3 years or so on average. I wouldn't be too worried about it. Barbados plays it very safe. As the airport hub for the Eastern Caribbean, in addition- to being the headquarters of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Response Agency (CDERA) ( http://www.cdera.org ) and the Eastern Caribbean Regional Security System (RSS) the island stays well updated on approaching bad weather. In addition to those agencies, Barbados also has it's own are the high level ones there's also the Central Emergency Relief Organization ( http://www.cero.gov.bb/ ).

Interms of health care in Barbados. Barbados has nationalised healthcare via the Queen Elizabeth Hospital and also a private health care system if you're used to way more perks.

If you're still wanting to check out Barbados more I would recommend the following sites:

http://www.accessbarbados.com/
http://www.allinfoaboutbarbados.com/
http://www.visitbarbados.org/
http://www.funbarbados.com/

~Tropical 11th
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Old Jul 10th 2006, 10:31 am
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Default Re: Moving to Barbados - advise needed!

Hi there Topical-11th,

That was so kind of you to go to so much trouble. I found all your information fascinating. I feel quite daunted by the prospect of moving to a foreign country. My main problem now is that my husband is convinced that Barbados has bad crime. I find this a bit silly as we live in a far more crime-ridden area in Scotland but when we were last in Barbados we had a bad experience with some young men who tried to mug us....and he won't forget that. I wonder if Barbados is getting worse for crime or if there are any areas to avoid? We want to be on the west cost - I felt pretty safe there, I must say. Okay, I can't imagine it is as safe as tiny islands like Saba or Anguilla or probably the UK Virgin Islands but it must be pretty safe. I wonder if you ever feel resentment from locals because as a foreigner you are perceived to be/are much more wealthy than they are? I feel you get this anywhere though I guess my husband has a point that as a foreigner you stand out more and therefore are more of a focus for resentment.

I have written to the immigration office to enquire about long-term residency - though I don't think I will need citizenship - or will I? I know the British Virgin Islands - as I have recently inquired - only allow you to reside for 6 months at a time and maybe will allow you informally to stay on the islands on a 6 month renewal basis - but that seems a rather risky proposition on which to purchase a property. I was interested to hear you say that it is so different on Barbados. Do they really allow you to live there without any special license?

Do you know any good attorneys who could handle all the paperwrk for me for getting residency or do you think that it is not that difficult to do oneself?

Once again, many thanks for your generosity in sending me all this information. When I have a moment, I shall look at all the websites you recommended.

Very best wishes

Linda
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Old Jul 10th 2006, 2:56 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Barbados - advise needed!

Hi there Tropical_11th,

I've just re read your message and wonder if I could pick your brains a bit more?! Are you living full-time in Barbados? It's just that you mentioned that you were in the US. You mentioned getting permanent residence. Can you tell me what that involved exactly? Did you do the paperwork - I don't know if you needed a work permit - but if not, what forms did you have to fill in and what supporting evidence did you have to provide to immigration? Do you think there are many youngish people who are 'retired' or work for themselves in an artistic way or do most ex-pats have jobs?

I'd love to know also, which are the good areas to buy in Barbados. One can only really tell from the inside. I don't know what you bought but did you look at lots of different properties or did you know from the outset what you wanted? I've been looking at inland properties (inland from the west coast) like Royal Westmoreland. When I was in Barbados for a couple of months on holiday I didn't really like the idea of being inland at all - apart from in one of those amazing plantation houses -(rather out of my price range!) but for actually living, I wouldn't want to be on the coast. Do you think these kind of complexes are good value or a rip off? There is a lot of development going on, it seems, certainly since I was last there. What do you think of any of these? I would be most interested to hear your views. It might help narrow my focus when I'm looking at property.

Many thanks again

Linda
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Old Jul 10th 2006, 3:02 pm
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Default Re: Moving to Barbados - advise needed!

Dear Joanna,

Many thanks for your advice - sorry to have taken so long to reply but I've been away. I was interested to read about your experiences at school in Barbados. My main concern is any negative attitude towards my children in terms of racism. I don't know if you are white but do you think in the playground - at an international school - there might be taunts against someone who was white? You know what kids can be like...

Why is Barbados better than Tortola - I've never been to the latter though I have been to a lot of smaller islands. I would be very interested to hear your views in terms of the people especially.

Are you still living in Barbados? If so, I would very much appreciate your views about which is a nice area to live in? I know it is subjective but I favour inland from the west cost - but are the developments for example, bad or good value? My concern about buying a villa on its own with not much land is one has no control over who or what is built next to you.

Many thanks for helping me out and look forward to hearing from you,

Best wishes

Linda

Originally Posted by BajanJo
Switch your focus back to Barbados, it's an infinitely better island than Tortola. The people are nicer, the education is better and it's easier to get to from the UK and easier to get to other islands.

I went to school in Barbados and the standard of education there is better than in the UK. Instead of doing GCSEs the children do the equivalent of O-levels, because of that when I came back Blighty to do my A-levels, it was so much easier and I walked into university.

I went to St. Winifred's School, which is an international fee paying school but cheap in comparison to Public schools in the UK. It takes children from the preps 3/4 to 16. If you send your children to St. Winifred's or the Convent (both on the outskirts of Bridgetown, close to Christ Church) you will meet loads of international parents and there is a strong sense of community so you won't struggle to meet people.

Re: Hurricanes, Barbados is the most easterly of all the islands and doesn't get affected by hurricanes as dramatically as other islands do. The last terrible, devastating hurricane was in the early 50s.

I'm biased, I know, but having been to the majority of the windward and leeward islands I would recommend only Barbados to live as the others pretty backwards and not as developed.

I hope this helps.

Joanna
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