A new era of relations for Barbadians here and in the Diaspora!

That is what acting Foreign Affairs Minister, Christopher Sinckler expects will be the outcome of the Inaugural Diaspora Conference, scheduled to take place in Barbados next month.

Speaking at a press briefing this morning at the Ministry’s Culloden Road Headquarters, Minister Sinckler explained that the idea for hosting the conference came from the 2008 budgetary presentation in which Prime Minister, David Thompson, made some commitments in relation to this country extending its arm to Barbadians in the Diaspora, namely Canada, England and the United States.

Pointing out that a key aim of the conference would be to ensure that Barbadians living overseas could make a contribution to the development of the Barbadian society; Mr. Sinckler outlined a number of initiatives that the substantive Prime Minister felt [at the time] should be pursued.

He said: "Some of these [initiatives] include the establishment of the new unit for overseas Barbadians, previously called Facilitation Unit for Returning Nationals (FURN, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, ‘, NULL, NULL, 0); a review of the incentives offered to persons living overseas who may want to relocate or who may want to operate a business in Barbados or invest; the creation of specific investment vehicles such as a special bond issue; the development of a comprehensive Barbados Networkers database, where we could properly design a database that carried information on where Barbadians were living but also put out information as it relates to their skills and?? interests which could be accessible to the Barbadian state and to Barbadians generally, and finally to host a Diaspora conference in Barbados, which will be taking place shortly."

Under the theme: Strengthening the Bonds that Unite Us, the conference, which is also being referred to as the Barbados Network Consultation, will be held biennially for Barbadians who are keen to learn of Government’s plans for nationals in the Diaspora. It is also for those eager to get involved in the future development of their island state.

??Adding that one of the highlights of the consultation will be a Town Hall-styled meeting, at which Barbadians will have the opportunity to present and discuss matters of importance to them, Mr. Sinckler noted that several topics would be addressed.??

These include: Tourism Development and the role of the Overseas Barbadian;

Philantrophy, Investment Opportunities; Cultural Industries, and Returning to the Rock.

The Conference will take place from Thursday, August 5 to Saturday, August 7, at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.????tblackman@barbados.gov.bb

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