Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has identified tourism and the international financial services as areas in which Barbados and the Republic of Cyprus can learn from each other.
Mr. Stuart told the High Commissioner of Cyprus to Barbados, Georgios Chacalli, during a recent courtesy call at Ilaro Court, that diplomatic relations between both countries had been established in 1972, but the relationship???s possibilities had not been maximised, even though they shared some similarities.
High Commissioner Chacalli explained how the global economic crisis affected his country, and how Cyprus??? Government had to turn to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for assistance.
He said that Cyprus was going through a very strict IMF programme, but the country had been able to ???pick up the pieces and move on??? more quickly than it had anticipated.
He pointed out that Cyprus was focusing on growth and had invested a lot of time in attracting foreign investment, for example, in the area of hydrocarbons.
He noted also that there was enough natural gas for both domestic usage and export. Mr. Stuart explained that Barbados was engaging in certain renewable energy initiatives since the economic crunch had exposed its vulnerabilities.
He said Barbados had offshore petroleum possibilities and was in the process of awarding blocks for exploration.In addition, he stated that Barbados had designed its own rehabilitative programme to get the country out of the economic difficulties and stressed that it has been working.
He emphasised that Government had chosen not to put this country through an IMF programme.??The Prime Minister explained that among the initiatives introduced was the establishment of a special Oversight Committee on State-Owned Enterprises to work with these agencies, to control their expenditure programmes.
Mr Chacalli was optimistic that, if everything went according to plan, Barbados and Cyprus could sign a Double Taxation Agreement before the end of this year, and promised to work closely with Barbados in this regard. He made the comments in relation to Mr. Stuart???s remarks that both countries needed to accentuate their bilateral relationship.