The Barbados Embassy in Cuba celebrated this country’s Independence last month with Minister of Commerce and Trade, Senator Haynesley Benn, on hand to participate in the festivities.

The occasion, was a three-day official visit to the republic during Barbados’ Independence weekend.?? While there, he took the opportunity to engage in diagloue with the Barbadian Diaspora and staff of the Embassy in Havana.

The Commerce Minister also met with the Embassy’s Charg?? d’Affaires, Donna Forde; President of the Caribbean Association of Cuba; Maria Rollock;

representatives from the local Ministry of Foreign Trade and Investment and the Ministry of Agriculture. He also visited sites that were representative of Cuba’s commercial and agricultural strength.

"I was given the opportunity to visit a farming cooperative and was extremely impressed with the quality of agriculture practiced there…the standards were very high, with well-planned production," Senator Benn explained. ??????????????????

He added that the cooperative effort was one that could benefit Barbados by boosting the work of young, farming entrepreneurs, whilst increasing local food security.

"…I saw food being produced organically…they grow aloe and they process it – we can learn a lot from them," the Minister noted.

During an official reception to mark Barbados 44th anniversary of Independence Senator Benn met with Barbadian students and descendants, as well as Cuban diplomats and officials. The Commerce Minister reminded his audience that Barbados was seeking to strengthen its partnership with Cuba in the areas of health, tourism, cultural and commercial cooperation.??

Senator Benn said he appreciated the chance to have discourse with the diaspora in Cuba and was honoured by the opportunity to learn more about that country.

"What I saw in the three days I was there was quite different from what I thought I knew about Cuba…my visit was an eye opener, it was educational and very enlightening and rewarding," he revealed.

Minister Benn also expressed a desire to see more direct air linkages between the two countries, especially for those person of Barbadian descendants who expressed a desire to see the land of their forefathers.??

Cuba and Barbados established diplomatic ties 38 years ago on December 8, 1972, while the Barbados Embassy was inaugurated on September 16, 2010.??

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