(sitting at left) Minister of state in the Prime Minister’s Office, Reverend Joseph Atherley, seated next to him is Major General Zhang Bangdong. (standing from left), Permanent Secretary Randolph Straughan, BDF Chief of Staff Col. Alvin Quintyne, along with other members of the visiting Chinese delegation.
Barbados stands to benefit in military assistance from the People’s Republic of China after the two states recently signed an agreement.
Representatives of both countries initialed the document which promises some three million dollars in military assistance to the Barbados Defence Force (BDF).
It was signed on behalf of Barbados by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Defence and Security, Captain Randolph Straughan, and by Major General Zhang Bangdong on behalf of the Chinese.
Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, Reverend Joseph Atherley, during talks with the visiting Chinese delegation after the signing, expressed gratitude for the assistance and said “Barbados was highly appreciative of the warmth China continues to give to us”.
He told the delegation head, Major General Zhang Bangdong, the fact that this island’s last four Prime Ministers made official visits to China showed the “continued commitment to sustain the excellent working relationship with such a country for the last 29 years”.
The chinese delegation that met recently with government in Bridgetown
According to him: “Our openness as a small island state, provides serious challenges for us and we must rely on the BDF to help us meet some of these challenges.”
He praised China for its “amazing socio-economic growth” that had taken place in recent years and saluted its role in international affairs, particularly in “reducing tensions in Asia”.
“We anticipate that China can also help impact on issues which are of importance to the Caribbean,” the Minister of State noted. He observed the future looked bright for Barbados/China relations.
Major General Bangdong said he believed his delegation had met all its objectives, the main one being, to “discuss with the BDF ways in which China could further strengthen Barbados militarily”.