The conclusion of an air services agreement and the importance of education were among the areas discussed, when Chile???s Ambassador, Fernando Schmidt Arizt??a, paid a courtesy call on Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean.

During the meeting last Friday, the Ambassador outlined a number of economic and social reforms that had been implemented by President Michelle Bachelet, to improve the lives of citizens.

Ambassador Schmidt Arizt??a said: ???The mark of her administration is to have an educational reform [since] thousands of people are aspiring to new levels of knowledge and this is good. To achieve this, the government is planning to raise about us$8.3 billion in the next four years. There will also be reforms to create a new social pact, which could see reforms of the present constitution or a new constitution???it is very clear that the president of Chile is willing to work with the private sector and???to attract American investors to Chile.???

Senator McClean also underscored the importance of health and education to a country???s national development, adding that those areas were the two largest in the Government of Barbados??? budget.

The Foreign Minister also outlined government???s reform activities in this area, and pointed out that ???it was something that we had to do if we seek to ensure maximum distribution of resources in the area of education.?????We now offer education from nursery to tertiary [levels] and for a small economy like this it is a significant investment in our people,??? she added.

Senator McClean further stated: ???The idea is to be in a position to continue to support education and there are some reforms in terms of looking to expand our offerings in technical and vocational areas???.???

The two officials also discussed the benefits of English as a second language as an avenue to foster closer relations, and new trading opportunities, among other topics. Barbados and Chile established diplomatic ties in 1967.

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