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Former Barbados Ambassador to the US and World Bank official, Charles Skeete, posing a question at the town hall meeting. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has heaped praise on the Barbados diaspora for its contribution to the island’s social and economic development over the years. He told Barbadian nationals at a Washington DC town hall meeting on Sunday evening that they had made a substantial contribution to the country’s national life, and "our gratitude to you is not dimmed."

He said wherever they were found, "Barbadians have made and continue to make an enriching contribution to their country. Particularly the remittances which have been sent back over the years by Barbadians who have emigrated. In addition, I want to thank you and congratulate you for being excellent ambassadors for our country."

Mr. Stuart reminded his audience that from 2008, when the present government came to office, it had promised to pursue a very vigorous diaspora policy, that would see government reaching out to them and members of the diaspora reciprocating by offering their skills and contributions, whether they were in the form of expertise, investments or remittances.

He said out that Barbadians who lived overseas were as important to the country as those who lived there. "So, when we talk of Barbadians, in terms of national development and otherwise, we mean wherever Barbadians can be found. Barbados is much larger than the 166 square miles we have back at home," he stressed.

Prime Minister Stuart urged those present to visit Barbados in August and participate in the Barbados Network Consultation- the island’s second diaspora conference; while calling on them to "continue to contribute to your country. Your country is still stable; your country is still safe; and your country is still attractive," he reminded them.
Representatives from a number of Barbadian national organisations from Washington and adjoining areas, as well as the Tri-state and California chapters, and the Christ Church Foundation Old Scholars Alumni attended the town hall forum.

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