Britain is keen to build on the historic ties with Barbados and to seek out other opportunities to further strengthen that relationship.
Minister for Africa, the Overseas Territories, the Caribbean and International Energy in the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mark Simmonds, gave this undertaking during a courtesy call on Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean recently.
During the call at the ministry on Culloden Road, the British minister said one of the key areas of focus was the strengthening of economic trade to determine “whether there is more that we can do together to promote economic growth in Barbados and the United Kingdom”.
He said matters relating to prosperity and security were also avenues to forge closer ties.
McClean expressed similar views about the link between prosperity and economic development and added: “One of the ways we believe that we can grow our economy is to diversify and part of that would be in exports. We have a long historic connection and certainly we believe that we can utilise our Diaspora to facilitate exports of some non-traditional products.”
She continued: “We recognise that renewable energy is a major component of furthering our prosperity. If you look at the imports of oil and gas it is certainly bigger than what we spend on health or education. We import $800 million in oil annually whereas we spend half a billion dollars on food imports. So, we see that renewable energy has to be part of our effort to reduce our imports and the use of foreign exchange.”
The two counterparts also discussed security and the work of the Regional Security Systems and their work in tackling narco-traffickers; tourism; the Commonwealth; the recent referendum in the Falklands; and Kosovo.