Barbados and Italy are seeking to forge stronger ties by collaborating on a series of projects across the island’s renewable energy, commerce and fashion sectors.
The upcoming projects were outlined recently, when Italy’s Special Envoy for the Caribbean, Paolo Serpi; and that country’s Honorary Consul for Barbados, Paola Baldi, paid a courtesy call on Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo.
Mr. Serpi stated that issues relating to climate change and the renewable energy sector were as important to Italy as they were to the Caribbean. This presented an opportunity, he added, for the two countries to work with a shared focus.
“It is a sector where we are quite strong and we see the possibility to work here in Barbados better… Italy is a peninsula surrounded by the sea…so we understand very clearly the problem that you face,” Mr. Serpi said.
Senator Byer Suckoo said she was glad that Italy realised the value of renewable energy to the Caribbean. “We stand to lose everything because of what can happen with climate change; and renewable energy is certainly one of the ways of mitigating the effects of that,” she noted.
The Special Envoy also disclosed that Italy was now in the final phase of ratifying a Double Taxation Agreement (DTA), with the Government of Barbados, and that the establishment of a Bilateral Investment Treaty was under discussion.
With Italy being recognised as one of the fashion capitals of the world, Mr. Serpi expressed further interest in working with Barbados to develop the local fashion sector.
He also lauded the recent initiative by the Centre for Food Security and Entrepreneurship of the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill Campus, which saw the transformation of Blackbelly Sheep skin into “excellent” leather.
The Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs also praised the initiative, and added that Barbados would appreciate any technical and financial assistance Italy could offer in developing that sector.