The impact of climate change in the Caribbean was brought to the fore recently when Portugal’s Ambassador to Barbados, Joao Jose Gomes Caetano da Silva, met with Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and International Business, Christopher Sinckler, during a courtesy call at the Ministry’s Culloden Road Office.
Mr. Da Silva told the Minister his country was supportive of development initiatives of small island states, especially as they tackled the issue of globalisation.
He pointed out that the two countries had much in common as they shared historic ties, as maritime countries and relied heavily on tourism.
The Ambassador also proposed that the two countries should seek to strengthen ties through trade.
Minister Sinckler observed that countries like Barbados and Portugal had recognised that they were already at risk from rising sea levels and storm surges which threatened their coastal areas. He added that emphasis must be placed on climate change and action must be taken to mitigate its effects.
Meanwhile, in later talks, Minister of Tourism, Richard Sealy, and the Portuguese envoy discussed a number of pertinent issues related to tourism.
Noting that Barbados received most of its tourist arrivals from the United Kingdom, Minister Sealy expressed a desire to attract more tourists from Portugal. In addition, he said training for hotel workers was vital to the industry and expressed the need for them to be given stints abroad in an effort to enhance their skills.
Likewise, Ambassador Da Silva noted that tourism practitioners in his country would welcome the opportunity to visit and work in the Caribbean.
The Minister also commended Portugal’s marine tourism and noted that Barbados’ marine facilities needed “upgrading”.
Barbados and Portugal established diplomatic ties in April, 1989.