Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean (right) chatting with l-r: Trustee of Achieving Youth Foundation, Greg Nicholson; widow of the late Dr. Oscar Jordan, Marsha Jordan; Trustee of Achieving Youth Foundation, Prue Sobers; and Claire Jordan during the Australia Day reception at Open Kitchen Restaurant last Friday. (C.Pitt/BGIS)

Although Barbados and Australia have enjoyed cordial diplomatic relations for more than four decades, this country’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean is keenly interested in deepening the cooperation in other areas.

She signalled her intensions last Friday while addressing a reception in recognition of Australia Day at Open Kitchen Restaurant, Millhouse Complex, Canewood, St. Thomas.

Senator McClean told the guests that Barbados highly valued Australia’s commitment and contribution in the area of climate change, and expressed optimism of cooperation in areas such as disaster preparedness and food security.

The Minister proffered the importance of continuing discussions towards the signing of a Double Taxation Agreement which would “enable the Australian private sector to use Barbados as a base from which to do business across CARICOM and Latin America.

Noting that diplomatic relations between Barbados and Australia date back to January 7, 1974, Senator McClean said that the relations had been cordial, cooperative and beneficial.

She noted that both countries shared membership of the Commonwealth and engaged in that forum on matters of mutual interest. Additionally, Barbados recognised and appreciated the international support Australia gives to clime change related issues in Small Island Developing States, using the Pacific Islands as its reference area.

Senator McClean added: “Barbados and Australia have enjoyed long-standing friendly relations and mutual benefit. However, there is much more that we can and should pursue.  Long live the relations between Barbados and Australia and long live the peace and prosperity of the Australian people.”

Meanwhile, Honorary Consul for Australia, James Gardiner, said Australia Day marks the arrival of Australia’s first fleet of settlers on January 26th 1788.  He said Australia is currently enjoying its 27th successive 6year of economic growth – fueled largely by the resources boom with higher commodity prices and higher real estate prices due to immigration.

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