Barbados and 13 other Caribbean countries have received COVID-19 supplies and equipment from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) Government.
During a handover ceremony at the Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA), yesterday, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott, accepted the donation from the Head of Humanitarian Response in the Foreign Aid Affairs Section, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of the UAE, Khalifa Alketbi, on behalf of Barbados and the Caribbean.
In accepting the donation, Minister Walcott stated: “The humanitarian aid, which will be distributed by the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), will be of critical support to the Caribbean in our fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.”
He thanked the UAE Government for its act of philanthropy, and noted that this donation is evidence of the commitment of the UAE to its partnership with the countries of the Caribbean Community.
He also expressed hope that the collaboration between the Caribbean and the UAE would continue to grow and strengthen.
Mr. Alketbi thanked Minister Walcott for his warm welcome to the island and commented that the assistance received was as a result of discussion with Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley.
He said the UAE hopes to maintain a national cooperative relationship with all countries around the world, and expressed the hope that the coronavirus would be finished soon, and “people are free to come and go” as they did prior to the advent of the pandemic.
Also present at the handover ceremony was acting Executive Director of CDEMA, Elizabeth Riley, who highlighted that CDEMA’s Integrated Regional Logistics Hub, located at the Bridgetown Port and the GAIA, are sub-regional focal points, which “will facilitate the onward distribution of 20 tonnes of medical supplies, comprising PPE N95 masks to 13 CARICOM states over the next several days”.
Ms. Riley noted that operations, such as the donation from the UAE, were made possible through the creation of strong partnerships, and thanked the Government of Barbados for its role in becoming a hub for the transhipment of COVID-19 supplies.
The donation from the UAE consists of 1.5 million surgical masks; 2,000 N95 masks; 500,000 test kits; 50,000 pairs of gloves and 2,000 overalls.
Barbados established diplomatic relations with the UAE in 1996, and the country is one of Barbados’ key partners in its new global outreach and engagement.