Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, heard first-hand an account of the Panamanian migration experience when she met with a group of Panama visitors, some of whom have traced their ancestry to Barbados.
During the meeting that took place last week at the Dover Beach Hotel, Dover, Christ Church, the minister reiterated Panama’s importance as a strategic partner for Barbados given its position as a gateway for commerce, a major hub for international air and sea transportation, and the home of many Barbadians.
McClean disclosed that plans were being made for the upcoming 100th anniversary celebrations of the opening of the Panama Canal as part of the overall efforts to enhance Barbados/Panama bilateral relations.
The foreign minister also informed the group that members of the Christian Mission Church in Panama had also informed her about their plans to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of the church and the involvement of Barbadians in the event.
McClean added: “The Panama migration story is one that we cannot allow Panamanians to forget.”
She also fielded questions from the group ranging from airlift, the health care system in Barbados and facilities for the elderly.
Regarding talks on airlift, the minister gave an undertaking that further discussions would be held on establishing a direct flight by Copa Airlines.
She added: “I believe that there is a lot of traffic that will come from both ways.”
McClean thanked the Panamanians on behalf of the Government for visiting the island to make contact with their relatives or to trace their family roots.