Minister of Foriegn Affairs and Foreign Trade??Senator Maxine McClean??delivers remarks at the official opening of the Barbados Embassy in Havana. At right is Charg?? d’Affaires at the Embassy of Barbados in Havana, Ms. Donna Forde and to the Senator McClean’s left is??Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba, H.E. Mr. Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla.??

Barbados has officially opened a new consulate in the republic of Cuba.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, celebrated the inauguration of the Embassy of Barbados in Havana on September 16.????

In her address to mark the occasion, Minister McClean said: "What we are witnessing here today is best seen within the context of a journey that began in 1972, when four visionary Caribbean leaders, President Forbes Burnham of Guyana and Prime Ministers Michael Manley of Jamaica, Dr. Eric Williams of Trinidad and Tobago and Errol Barrow of Barbados, took the bold step to establish diplomatic relations with Cuba.

Minister of Foriegn Affairs and Foreign Trade,Senator Maxine McClean as she unveils a plaque to mark the official opening of??Barbados’ Embassy in Havana,Cuba on September 16.

"In the then so-called ???cold war’ environment, that decision represented a bold, and some may say defiant, step towards embracing our sister Caribbean nation. We have never regretted taking that step."

Several guests were on hand to mark the occasion, including the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Cuba,?? Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla, and the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Dominica, Trinidad &Tobago, the Bahamas, Jamaica, St Lucia, St Kitts, Haiti, Antigua & Barbuda and Grenada. Also present were the Assistant Secretary-General of CARICOM, Mr. Colin Granderson, and the Ambassador of Barbados to CARICOM, Dennis Kellman and members of the Barbados Diaspora in Cuba.

The opening of the Embassy in Cuba comes just over a year after Prime Minister David Thompson, during an official visit to that country in 2009, made the announcement of Barbados’ intent to establish a diplomatic presence in Cuba.

The Embassy will be instrumental in the establishment of business contacts and the identification of emerging opportunities within Cuba for Barbados’ services, trade and commercial sectors. The increasing consular needs of the growing number of Barbadian students in Cuba all provide strong rationale for the establishment of a resident Embassy in Cuba. clashley@barbados.gov.bb

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