The contribution of Barbadians living overseas to the economic development of the country will be the focus of the third Barbados Network Consultation (BNC) that will be opened by Prime Minister Freundel Stuart on August 5 at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre.
The central goal of the conference is to encourage and facilitate the contribution of the diaspora to the social and economic development of Barbados.
Local entrepreneurs will have an opportunity to display and promote their goods and services, with the aim of targeting possible export markets.
Over three days, about 250 Barbadians, their descendants and friends of Barbados, at home and abroad, will participate in seminars, workshop and panel discussions, centred around the theme One Nation, One Family – Building Pathways To Prosperity And Development.
A highlight of this year’s consultation will be the Cabinet-Diaspora Interactive Session on August 5 at 10:45 a.m., during which Prime Minister Stuart and other members of his Cabinet will be on hand to speak and respond to questions regarding their respective portfolios.
The consultation has enabled Diaspora relations to secure a critical place and space in the country’s foreign policy agenda, along with the traditional issues such as CARICOM ties, environmental issues, trade, security and human rights.
Among those scheduled to attend are chief executive officer of the Barbados Private Sector Association Anne Reid, Ancestry Expert Sandra Eaddy, chief archivist David Williams, president of the Barbados Film and Video Association Inc. Lynette Eastmond, author of The Silver Men:West Indian Labour Migration To Panama, 1850-1914, Professor Velma Newton, and head of the Task Force for the Preservation of Barbados’ Built Heritage Professor Henry Fraser.
The consultation coincides with the centennial celebrations of the opening of the Panama Canal, which 60,000 Barbadians helped construct.
Among the events of the BNC to commemorate this important milestone are: screening of the teaser for the documentary, Panama Fever; signing of a Sister Port Agreement between Barbados Port Inc and Manzanillo International Terminal; the Panama Canal Centennial Stamp issue; and a panel discussion with Professor Newton, a representative of the Government of Panama, Panamanian of Barbadian descent, Sheila Wilkinson and Manzanillo International Terminal representative Carlos Urriola.