???Bilateral relations between Barbados and the People???s Republic of China (PRC) are alive and well.???

Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley made this assertion on Monday at the Commencement Ceremony for the refurbishment of the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium.

Mr. Lashley thanked the Political and Economic Counsellors at the Chinese Embassy for their ???sterling efforts??? in making the refurbishment of the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium a reality.

He noted that although the ties between the two countries had their beginnings in the construction of the Gymnasium, they had since expanded beyond that space into ???the unique Fish and Dragon Festival which is part of the now annual celebration of the Chinese Happy New Year in Barbados???.

Commenting on the history of the Gymnasium, the Sports Minister highlighted that in 1992, the facility was handed over as a gift to the Government and people of Barbados by the People???s Republic of China.

???The existence of this facility meant that many of our Sporting Federations now had a space in which they could promote their respective disciplines and even host international competitions,??? he said, adding that the space was used for other religious, cultural and national events.

Mr. Lashley further stated that the relationship between the two countries had also given rise to the establishment of the Confucius Centre at The University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, and the non-governmental organisation known as the Barbados China Cultural Centre or the BC3.

According to him, these developments served to strengthen relations between the two countries and augured well for the future.

Renovations to the Gymnasium, which are estimated at BBD $19 million, are expected to conclude approximately 15 months after the commencement of repairs.


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