by Kim Ramsay-Moore

A team of representatives left Barbados earlier today to attend the Barbados Comes to Atlanta (BCTA) event, which will run from tomorrow, Thursday, May 26, to Sunday, May 29.

The delegation is being led by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, and will include other personnel from the Ministry, as well as representatives from the tourism, cultural, business and investment sectors in Barbados.

The aim of the trip is to show off various aspects of this country and make crucial connections in several areas which should be beneficial to both places.

A statement from the Office of the Consulate General of Barbados in Miami, Florida, who is part of the organising team, stated that this year’s BCTA was “designed to expose Barbados to a relatively new market to rally in the North American Barbadian Diaspora [and] to kick off the celebration of our 50th Anniversary of Independence”.

Officials at the Consulate added that while the event had historically focused on marketing Barbados’ tourism assets, arts, culture and heritage, the itinerary had been tweaked to take advantage of Atlanta’s burgeoning status as a global city and center of excellence in international business, education, science and technology and healthcare services among others.

On Thursday, May 26, experts at colleges and universities in Atlanta will examine the Barbados model in the above-mentioned sectors, and present formal papers on Barbados’ current strategy, along with suggestions and ideas which could better prepare this country for the challenges of the 21st Century.

The programme for Friday, May 27, includes a full day of marketing presentations by the visiting team from Barbados, which are expected to inform the Atlanta business community and our Diaspora about investment and partnership opportunities across all sectors of the country.

On Saturday, May 28, there will be a “Bridgetown Market-type event”, to be held on Sweet Auburn Street. This event will coincide with Atlanta’s annual Caribbean Carnival and Jazz Festival.

Sunday, May 29, has been set aside for a morning church service of thanksgiving, to be followed by a town hall meeting. Later that evening, there will be a formal Gala and Awards Ceremony at which a 50th anniversary coffee table magazine will be distributed.

BCTA is being coordinated by three teams located in Miami, Barbados and Atlanta. The team in Miami is headed by Consul General, Colin Mayers, who spearheaded the effort to put on the “Barbados Comes To” event, while Team Atlanta is headed by Dr. Edward Layne, who is the Honorary Consul there.

Local team members include representatives from the Barbados Marketing Tourism Inc., Barbados Investment and Development Corporation, the Cultural Industries Development Authority, the Barbados Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the Barbados Manufacturer’s Association and Invest Barbados.

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