Prime Minister Freundel Stuart believes that Barbados must take back the Canadian tourism market.
He expressed this view last evening during a reception held at Ilaro Court for 33 Canadians who were here on a 10-day visit organised by Betty Hope-Gittens, a Barbadian living in Canada.
Mr. Stuart told the excited tourists, some here for the first time: ???There was a time when Canada was Barbados??? principal source market for tourists. You are not that now, but we do not intend that that situation should endure for very much longer. Your presence here tonight is intended to be, among other things, a signal that we must recapture the Canadian market.???
Mr. Stuart stated that the relationship between Barbados and Canada was an old, but very good one, pointing out that the country was accustomed to welcoming Canadians from all walks of life.
He noted that former Prime Ministers of Canada, John Diefenbaker and Pierre Trudeau, had visited on a number of occasions. ???So too has Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, who has paid a State Visit to Barbados, and also the present Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who has a very good relationship with Barbados,??? he added.
He said many Barbadians had emigrated to Canada and made a great contribution to the development of that country. He disclosed that Barbados??? former High Commissioner to Ottawa, Evelyn Greaves, had produced a book detailing the contribution of Barbadians to Canada, and suggested it should be revised to include those who came forward after its publication.
During the evening, Pat Wood, on behalf of the group, presented Mrs. Hope-Gittens with a monetary donation towards the Errol Barrow Memorial Educational Fund.
Some of those visiting the island included Senator Marjory LeBreton, a member of the Canadian Senate representing the Province of Ontario, and a former Government Leader in in the Senate from 2006 to 2013.
On her first visit here, Senator LeBreton said she has many friends and colleagues in the Senate who visit yearly, so when she heard about the trip she immediately agreed to come.
She continued: ???Barbados is exactly what I thought it would be like; the people are exactly what I was told they were like ??? friendly, welcoming and very helpful. It is a beautiful place, it has a very nice climate??? and I will definitely be coming back.
???What I found really interesting, having travelled to other islands, is that it is very unusual to come to an island and be able to drink the water. The water here is very good,??? she stated.
John and Pat Wood have visited the island about 25 times, and are impressed with the development over time. ???But, it is the people who make this island; they are kind, helpful, and generous of love and spirit. It is wonderful,??? Mrs. Wood stressed.
This is real estate agent, 91-year-old Neta Clarke???s second visit. She said she enjoyed herself, including the Hilton Barbados, where the group stayed. ???I will certainly tell everybody about Barbados when I return,??? she promised.??The group left the island on Thursday afternoon.