Prime Minister Freundel Stuart (right) is pictured as he held talks with The Bahamas’ newly appointed High Commissioner to Barbados, Mr. Picewell Forbes. Mr. Forbes presented his Letters of Introduction to Mr. Stuart yesterday at Government Headquarters. (A. Miller (BGIS)

Prime Minister Freundel Stuart has given the assurance that the long diplomatic relationship that has existed between this nation and The Bahamas, will continue.

Mr. Stuart made the assertion yesterday as he held talks with that country’s newly appointed High Commissioner, Picewell Forbes, at Government Headquarters.

In welcoming the new envoy, the Prime Minister said that the warm ties between the two nations could be traced to the close relationship between the late

Sir Lynden Pindling, and the Right Excellent Errol Barrow in the early 70s, as they worked with other leaders to improve regional integration. He cautioned that although CARICOM was now focusing much of its attention on creating institutions and expanding its infrastructure, deeper integration required a greater determination to unite the people of the region.

However, Mr. Stuart said that he was not one of those persons who saw CARICOM in a pessimistic light. He added: "If you ask the question what it has achieved – the list is long and impressive. I don’t think CARICOM is in any danger. There is a lot of political goodwill. I think CARICOM is safe."

With respect to the challenges posed by climate change, the Prime Minister pointed out that Barbados was leading the debate on this issue among Small Island Developing States. He noted that Government was dealing with it holistically, and a programme was now under way to address coastal erosion with funding provided by the Inter American Development Bank.

In response, High Commissioner Forbes welcomed the enhancement of diplomatic relations and said that the two allies had many similarities and shared a close bond. He singled out the appointment of Archbishop Drexel Gomez as Bishop of Barbados in 1997 as indicative of this fact.

Additionally, the envoy expressed the hope that CARICOM’s profile would be enhanced so that young persons would understand its importance.

The High Commissioner, who has had a career in the broadcasting arena, highlighted the need for the application of information technology to a better public relations profile for CARICOM leaders and countries both within and outside the region.

He pointed out that his country, which comprised 21 inhabited islands, would be celebrating 40 years of independence this year, and 46 years of majority rule. He noted that this was a "very interesting time" for his nation.

Barbados and The Bahamas commenced formal diplomatic relations in 1973.


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