Member of the Political Bureau and Secretary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) – Tianjin Municipal Committee, Zhang Gaoli (right) and Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Barbados, Xu Hong (left) being escorted by Chief of Protocol, Philip St. Hill (not pictured), last night. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

As Barbados seeks to strengthen its relationship with China across various sectors, a contingent of Barbadian Ministers welcomed a high-level Chinese delegation from the Communist Party of China (CPC) to the island last evening.

The Chinese were greeted by Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Haynesley Benn, along with Minister of Health, Donville Inniss; Minister of Transport and Works, John Boyce, and Minister of Education and Human Resource Development, Ronald Jones.

The Chinese delegation is led by Member of the Political Bureau of the CPC, Zhang GaoIi.?? They are in the country for a three-day visit.??

In welcoming Mr. Zhang Gaoli and the members of the CPC party, Senator Benn said he was sure that they would experience the "usual warmth and hospitality of Barbadians as we seek to develop further relations with your country."

Minister Jones noted that Barbados and China had a growing relationship in education.?? Pointing to the increasing number of Barbadian students benefitting from Chinese scholarships, he described this as "cross fertilisation which better equips our citizens to handle employment and business".

Adding that this country saw the advantages of young Barbadians being able to speak Mandarin and requiring knowledge of the Chinese culture and history, Minister Jones expressed the hope that Barbados would reciprocate this by providing the Chinese with the opportunity to "engage with our education system".

Minister Inniss expressed optimism at a proposed partnership between China and Barbados in the area of health.?? Noting that both nations enjoyed 35 years of diplomatic relations, he said he was confident that the relationship would "grow from strength to strength".

Echoing the sentiments of his counterparts, Minister John Boyce, said he too was looking forward to collaboration, particularly in the areas of public transportation and infrastructure.

Mr. Zhang GaoIi, stated it was a pleasure to be in Barbados and said he was looking forward to further cooperation.??

He observed that Barbados and China had enjoyed a strong relationship over the years, and anticipated his meeting with Barbadian governmental officials and seeing the island first hand.

During the three-day visit, the Chinese will meet with Prime Minister, Freundel Stuart; Governor General, Sir Elliott Belgrave; Leader of the Opposition, Owen Arthur; President of the Senate, Senator Kerri-Ann Ifill, and Speaker of the House of Assembly, Michael Carrington.

The delegation will also tour a number of facilities including the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium and the Cruise Terminal at the Port.??


Author: Shamkoe Pil??

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