BARBADOS and Canada have always enjoyed a strong partnership. This was the key message that Prime Minister of Barbados, the Honourable Freundel Stuart delivered to those present at the 150th birthday celebrations of Canada on Saturday night.

He acknowledged the relationship saying that from humble beginnings more than 50 years ago, Canada was one of the first nations that Barbados established diplomatic relations with upon attaining its independence.

Later, High Commissions were set up in their respective countries, first a Barbados High Commission in Canada in 1967, which was then reciprocated when Canada established a High Commission here in 1973.

“Over the years, the relations between Barbados and Canada have expanded to encompass a wide variety of areas and we are now partners in a multifaceted enterprise of economic, political and cultural cooperation,” PM Stuart said. The two countries continued to build on this relationship where by the mid-1970s, Canada emerged as the No.1 source market for visitor arrivals.

He continued, “By the 1980s the partnership between Canada and the region as a whole had strengthened to such an extent that the Commonwealth Caribbean was designated as an area of priority in Canadian foreign policy. The designation was accompanied by a commitment to the doubling of development assistance to the region, from which of course Barbados was destined to benefit.”

The Prime Minister stated that this relationship continues even today with many Barbadians choosing to pursue tertiary level studies and other opportunities in that North American country. Adding that “For our part, not only have we welcomed visitors from Canada in a steady stream over the years, but we have also embraced Canadians – just shy of 12 000 of them who now call Barbados home.

This kinship between Barbados and Canada is a credit to both of us.” He said that later this year, on September 24, the Barbados High Commission in Ottawa will join in the year-long celebrations of this milestone event, which would also celebrate Canada’s diversity in an event dubbed, ‘Ottawa Welcomes the World.’

Article compliments the Barbados Advocate.