Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley listens attentively to Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sweden to Barbados, Elisabeth Eklund, during their recent courtesy call at Ilaro Court. (C. Pitt/BGIS)

Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has been lauded for her handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has seriously affected the globe and killed over two million people.

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Sweden to Barbados, Elisabeth Eklund, who resides in Stockholm, offered the commendation on Thursday, when she paid a courtesy call on the Prime Minister at Ilaro Court.

In congratulating Ms. Mottley, Mrs. Eklund stated: “You have done a remarkable job during the time of the pandemic.”

The Prime Minister said Government’s mantra is safe people, safe work, safe country and, therefore, choosing to save lives is foremost in this fight. 

She reiterated Government’s commitment to saving lives first and then stabilising the country, as she underscored the importance of the national pause period from February 3 to 17, which includes a revision of the curfew period to 7:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. daily, and only essential businesses open.

Every day, she added, reports were surfacing about businesses closing because an employee had tested positive for the virus.  She indicated that this situation has been causing too much uncertainty, anxiety, and even reduced productivity.

Therefore, she stressed, it was necessary to introduce the additional restrictions now to restrict movement as much as possible in the country, so health officials could once again get ahead of this disease spread.

Ms. Mottley noted that the health officials, including the Cuban nurses and more recently Cuban doctors and laboratory technologists who came to assist, were working tirelessly in the COVID-19 fight. 

She said the pandemic has had a very negative impact on the country’s economy.  “We brought the country to the point where it (the economy) was about to take off and then the pandemic hit,” she lamented.

Ms. Mottley expressed the view that officials would have to complete a review of short-term tourism, while pointing out that the Welcome Stamp initiative “is doing relatively well”.

During the discussions, the Prime Minister said Barbados was keen to deepen its relations with Sweden and the Nordic region.

She recalled that many years ago when she was younger several Swedes visited Barbados and expressed hope that there would be a return to such in the future.

Those attending the courtesy call included Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott; Permanent Secretary in that Ministry, Simone Rudder; and Permanent Secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, Alies Jordan.

Diplomatic relations between Barbados and Sweden were established on March 19, 1976.

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