Prime Minister David Thompson (FP)??

China and Brazil are likely to be major economic and political powers in the future, and Government has been "tardy" in establishing the kind of diplomatic relations that it should have with them.

Prime Minister David Thompson made this observation earlier this week, during an interview with journalists after the Second Meeting between the Council for Investment, Exports, Foreign Exchange and the Diaspora (CIEX) Cabinet Subcommittee and Barbados’ overseas missions. The meeting was held at the conference room of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Culloden Road, St. Michael.

According to Mr. Thompson, "Brazil, in every sense of the word, economically, geo-politically and otherwise, is a major, and becoming an even greater major power". He noted that Brazil had a very large population, which traversed the Caribbean either to get to the United Stated or to the United Kingdom.

"We therefore have some element of familiarity to them and we need to exploit that to the maximum. I can’t think that anybody could complain about government seeking to have diplomatic relations with China, the number two superpower in the world, and Brazil, which is certainly the most influential economic power in our region," he opined.

The mission in China is expected to be up and running by year-end and former Prime Minister Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford will serve as its ambassador.

With respect to Cuba, with which Barbados has had longstanding relations since 1972, the Prime Minister said it was "a glaring lacuna in our diplomatic representation". He pointed out that because of Cuba’s generosity to Barbados, and because of the relationship generally, it would be desirable to establish a mission.

"It will not be a mission with the highest level of diplomatic representation immediately, but a second level official will go and seek to establish the mission there," he revealed.

The Prime Minister recalled that during his visit to Cuba, he met with descendants of Barbadians at the West Indian Centre in Havana. "There we saw the children of people who left Barbados in the 1920s to go to Cuba, who were asking us to please set up the mission as soon as possible, because they have connections with families at home that they wish to re-establish and without diplomatic representation it becomes difficult," he explained.

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