Barbados’ embassies should reflect the strategic focus of this country.

Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth, Stephen Lashley, expressed this view yesterday when Barbados’ Ambassador (designate) to the People’s Republic of China, Dr. Chelston Brathwaite, paid him a courtesy call at his office at Sky Mall, Haggatt Hall, St. Michael.

He said the embassies should have a Barbadian ???look and feel??? and suggested that local artwork and items should adorn their space.

During the wide-ranging discussions, Mr. Lashley surmised that the cultural industries sector and sports were poised to be key players in the Government’s thrust to return growth to the Barbados economy, indicating that deepening cooperation with China in these areas would help in this country???s efforts to attract investment dollars.

He noted that the Government was seeking to accelerate the growth of the film industry, which he described as an area which could ???take off??? very quickly. ???We have been able to develop a number of appealing films and documentaries which can be shown to international audiences and in addition to that, we want to attract film companies and producers to come here to shoot films,??? he stated.

The Minister pointed out that the Chinese had shown great interest in the Crop Over Festival and said there was a need to capitalise on that interest and focus on how to get more visitors from China to come to Barbados. He added that the UNESCO World Heritage Property would also be used as a marketing tool to attract heritage travellers.

Dr. Brathwaite said Barbados was interested in strengthening its relationship with China and disclosed that during the past month, he had been meeting with officials of the public and private sectors to see how the friendship could be deepened.

He underscored the importance of culture and expressed the view that as this island sought to develop its cultural industries, China could be a very important market for those in the sector.

Dr. Brathwaite will leave for China this weekend.

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