COVID-19: Press Conference – March 13, 2021 (PMO)

Climate change, trade, and regional integration are some of the matters the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade will be pursuing, as it seeks to further strengthen bilateral relations with its various partners.

This was disclosed by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and Chairman of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on COVID-19, Senator Dr. Jerome Walcott, during last evening’s press conference.

Minister Walcott noted that such matters were critical to Barbados development, as it relates to strengthening the economy, enhancing trade, and investment prospects, among other things.

He indicated that the Ministry, through its various missions in the United States, would be  “actively engaging” the government in several matters.

“Barbados will continue to adopt a proactive posture in lobbying US lawmakers and engagement with the federal government. Key priorities include the return of US leadership to the climate negotiating process as an opportunity to secure a new climate financing architecture that meets the scale of the climate crisis in small island states.

“Support for the initiatives launched by Prime Minister Mottley with regard to our debt restructuring, debt deferral and other instruments, and of course the vulnerability index, which relates directly to small island developing states, like Barbados,” Senator Walcott disclosed.

Highlighting the great scope in partnering with Latin America, he outlined some of the key areas for which this country would be seeking further cooperation.

“Having established a new mission in Panama last year, the Ministry will be developing a new Latin American strategy. Latin America offers a great deal of potential for trade, investment, education, health care, disaster management, hemispheric security, and cultural diplomacy.

“Our missions in Brazil, Panama and Venezuela will be involved closely in this exercise, both from their place of residence and non-resident accreditations,” Minister Walcott said.

He also acknowledged the “progressive strengthening” of relations between Barbados and Cuba, highlighting the medical assistance provided by the Spanish-speaking Caribbean island during the COVID-19 pandemic.

On the issue of regional integration with the Caribbean Community, Senator Walcott said his Ministry would “continue to pursue Barbados’ priority of increased regional engagement and strengthened integration, particularly as it relates to a joint cooperation agreement with Guyana and Suriname”.

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