As Barbados intensifies efforts to become a global economy, Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley believes that acquiring a second language will play a major part in this endeavour.
This was emphasised recently during a courtesy call with the Ambassador-designate for Spain, Fernando Nogales Alvarez, and the Prime Minister at Ilaro Court.
The Ambassador pointed out that his country was open for investment and trade opportunities with Barbados and was keen to collaborate in this regard.
Ms. Mottley told the envoy that her government was still interested in pursuing investment opportunities, in particular airlift between Bridgetown and Madrid, and in education with the teaching of Spanish to young people under the age of 18.
She maintained that Spanish was the second language of choice and said it was her government’s vision for that age cohort to be bilingual by 2030.
The Prime Minister also articulated her vision for a bi-lingual hospitality sector where the Jean and Norma Holder Hospitality Institute here, would be transformed into a bi-lingual training facility.
“All of the other training institutes in the Americas train hospitality workers in one language. We feel that we ought to be training hospitality workers in two or three languages and without waiting for you, I am prepared to engage somebody to help them with the Spanish, even if we have to pay.”
Ms. Mottley further stated: “I am not asking for development support but we want the requisite skill…somebody who is in hospitality already and who has the language capacity to train people in the language at the lower end, because you’re talking invariably about people from waiters, busboys and workers in rooms, so basically [training in] cultural Spanish, then supported by software programmes.”
The two officials also discussed alternative energy sources; attendance at next year’s International Tourism Fair (Fitur); assistance with airport and air traffic management; and expanding the island’s kidney transplant programme.
The Prime Minister thanked the Government of Spain for the offer to provide Pfizer pediatric vaccines for students. Barbados and Spain established diplomatic ties on September 29, 1980.