Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has acknowledged the sterling contribution the Barbadian diaspora has made to the development of the United Kingdom (UK).

In addition, he has also expressed appreciation for their support to Barbados after migration, through the transmission of remittances and intellectual capital to their homeland.

Mr. Stuart made the comments recently as he celebrated Barbados??? 49th Anniversary of Independence with the Barbadian diaspora in the UK.

He and his delegation were on their way back from attending the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in Malta and the UN COP21 Climate Change meeting in Paris.

The Prime Minister attended a town hall meeting at Birkbeck College, University of London, on December 5, and the following day, he was the distinguished participant at the National Independence Service in Leeds.

Barbadians migrated in large numbers in the late 1950s and 1960s to work in the London transport, the health care sector and in manufacturing. The Prime Minister congratulated them on their achievements personally and collectively in their adopted country, and praised them for the mark they continued to make, while highlighting the potential for further contribution to Barbados by way of investment and sharing of information.

In looking forward to the 50th Anniversary of Independence in 2016, Mr. Stuart informed his audience that there would be a year-long celebration of the Golden Jubilee of ?Independence. He urged all Barbadians to be a part of this celebration both in and out of Barbados.

He extended an invitation to the diaspora to travel in their numbers to Barbados next year to attend the biennial Barbados Network Consultation, which is an outreach to the diaspora communities across the world.

Mr. Stuart expressed deep appreciation for having been afforded the opportunity to interact personally with the hundreds of first, second and third generation Barbadians whom he met and exchanged greetings and advice during his brief visit. He vowed to continue the dialogue, and said he looked forward to returning to the United Kingdom to further strengthen these bonds of cooperation.

While in the UK, the Prime Minister also visited Oxford University to view possibly the only surviving manuscript copy of the 1651 Declaration of Independence which, along with the 1652 Charter of Barbados, is referenced in the preamble of the 1966 Constitution of Barbados.

He was also received by the President of the Oxford Union, Stuart Webber, which was significant as the late Sir James Cameron Tudor, in 1942, while a student of Keble College, was elected the first black president of the Oxford Union.

Author: Barbados High Commission in London/Sharon Austin

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