The Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Esther Byer Suckoo, wants to see a stronger Barbados-Panama connection.

She made this observation today as she addressed the launch of the Barbados Network Consultation (BNC) 2014 and the Panama 2014 Centennial Celebrations at the Ministry???s conference room.

???It is my sincere hope that Barbadians, Barbadian descendants and friends of Barbados, both home and abroad, will use the occasion of such events to explore opportunities for celebration and for further collaboration of the Barbados-Panama connection,??? Senator Dr. Byer Suckoo said.

Speaking about the significance of the Panama Centennial Celebrations, the Acting Foreign Affairs Minister said history suggested that 60,000 Barbadians migrated to Panama to assist in the Construction of the Canal, described as one of the technological and engineering wonders of the world.

???Against this background therefore, it is most fitting that we commemorate this centennial both as a tribute to the industrious contribution of our citizens to human civilisation and also, as a means of highlighting the enduring legacy of friendship, goodwill and cooperation between Barbados and Panama,??? Dr. Byer Suckoo underlined.

She also gave a synopsis of activities that were already held or formed part of the Panama 2014 celebrations. These included the Naniki Caribbean Jazz Safari in January, the Barbados Exhibit at the Panama Canal Authority Open Exhibition in February and the launch of the Panama Connection Revisited book authored by Professor Velma Newton by the Barbados Museum and Historical Society.

Also in March, the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation participated in the Great West Indian Fair in Panama. Other activities will include an exhibition, lecture and educational tour in August, a commemorative stamp issue by the Barbados Postal Service in August and the signing of a Sister Port Agreement between the Barbados Port Inc. and Manzanillo International Terminal Panama.

The event was endorsed by the Consul General in New York, Lennox Price, Consul General in Toronto Haynesley Benn, Deputy High Commissioner in the United Kingdom, Donville Johnson, and Senator Verla Depeiza. The BNC 3rd Diaspora Conference will be held from August 3 to 7.

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