Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley presents a token of appreciation to new British High Commissioner Scott Furssedonn-Wood during their courtesy call at Ilaro Court on Tuesday. (S. Maughan/BGIS)

Barbados remains “good friends” with Britain, despite its intention to become a Republic later this year.

This was underscored when new British High Commissioner Scott Furssedonn-Wood met with Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley during a courtesy call at Ilaro Court on Tuesday.

Ms. Mottley stressed that the move to become a Republic was to ensure that Barbados could make certain decisions on its own.

She explained that Barbados had to refer to the Palace before making decisions relating to the selection of an Ambassador or making changes to specific categories of nominees for National Honours, at short notice.

However, the Prime Minister noted that the republic conversation needed to be contextualised, as the move would give citizens a sense of confidence and a desire by some to, one day, become President of Barbados.

During the meeting, Ms. Mottley also gave the assurance that Barbados would remain committed to its implementation of all the Prince’s Trust projects from which many young people benefited.

In response to the High Commissioner’s interest in the reopening of the tourism industry, Ms. Mottley asserted that Barbados had the capacity to conduct the necessary testing for COVID-19.

She explained that the country had five automatic extractors and a nine-month supply of reagents. In addition, she noted that two new private laboratories would be coming on stream shortly, and there was a more than adequate supply of rapid PCR tests being used to test fully vaccinated travellers on arrival.

The High Commissioner commended Prime Minister Mottley for her management of COVID-19 in Barbados, and noted that the country’s desire to become a Republic was “very well understood”, and was simply a natural progression in a country’s maturity as a self-governing entity.

He said the United Kingdom’s Government intended to be a global champion for small island developing states in the years ahead and welcomed the opportunity to redefine the situation. 

Matters relating to timely access to COVID-19 vaccines, the state of regional economies and their ability to access funding post COVID-19, the climate crisis, reparations, the Economic Partnership Agreement and the recent negative listing of Barbados by the United Kingdom were also discussed.

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