Issues pertaining to climate change and this country’s 50th Anniversary of Independence featured prominently today, when His Royal Highness (HRH) Prince Henry of Wales paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, at Ilaro Court.
Those present included Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean; Acting Head of the Civil Service and Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Sonja Welch; Cabinet Secretary, Andrew Cox; and Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Cecile Humphrey. Prince Henry was accompanied by Ed Lane Fox, Sir David Manning and Major David Clarke.
Prime Minister Stuart said that small island developing states must continue to raise their voices regarding climate change because they were feeling the effects more than the other countries.
“We have no choice; we have to discuss climate change because we can be wiped out as small island developing states if we do not pay attention to this serious matter,” he stated.
HRH Prince Henry agreed that the climate change conversation was very necessary and indicated that climate change and taking care of the environment were important topics which were on the agenda of the Caribbean governments. He noted that rainfall patterns were changing everywhere.
Prince Henry expressed the view that people were taking a keen interest in how to fix those problems, especially the younger people, those between seven and 25 years old, who were heavily engaged in climate change issues.
Prime Minister Stuart described the events planned for the Golden Jubilee and indicated that Barbadians were fully involved in the celebrations.
He said that over the last year, Government had been encouraging citizens to reflect on the past 50 years, examining what features of Barbadian life were lost but needed to be reclaimed; what has not been lost and needs to be retained; and what has not been lost but must be discarded.
He explained that The University of the West Indies was currently conducting surveys using those three questions. He added that a report would be prepared and there would be dialogue on the way forward.
The Prime Minister noted that Barbados had done very well over the past 50 years and it was now a more inclusive society.
Prince Henry also shared a similar view about Barbados doing well over the years and added that opportunities for young people had improved. He is representing Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II at Barbados’ Independence events, which he described as wonderful.
During the talks, HRH Prince Henry and Prime Minister Stuart discussed the Regional Security System’s Fusion Centre which was built by the British, the Olympic Games and Barbados’ focus beyond 50, among other issues.
HRH Prince Henry also took time to express his admiration for the decorations on Government Headquarters, which represent the national heroes and local figures.
At the end of the courtesy call, there was an exchange of gifts. His Royal Highness presented a book of images of the flora and fauna of Barbados while the Prime Minister presented on behalf of the Government and people of Barbados a map of Barbados in mahogany, which is to be given to Her Majesty. The map was created by Barbadian craftsman, Cy Hutchinson.