China is supporting this island’s disaster preparedness and response efforts, with a donation this week of $6 million in equipment to the Barbados Defence Force (BDF).
The gift from the People’s Liberation Army, comprises 4×4 vehicles, a mobile kitchen, a refrigerator van, a tractor and a vessel.
The items were officially handed over by Chinese Ambassador Yan Xiusheng to the BDF’s Chief of Staff Colonel Glyne Grannum during a brief ceremony at St Ann’s Fort on Wednesday.
In accepting the donation, Colonel Grannum said it was “very timely”, as the BDF prepared for the hurricane season, which forecasters predict will be as active as 2017.
He also said the equipment would enhance the BDF’s disaster preparedness and response capabilities to effect search and rescue operations, flood relief and distress response operations, among other things.
“We had a very bad hurricane season in 2017, so we are very grateful that we have additional tools to help with disaster response in Barbados and enhance our ability to return the island to a state of normalcy in the fastest possible time,” he added.
Ambassador Yan said the equipment was a demonstration of the strong friendship between China and Barbados, and represented the fourth largest amount of aid from the People’s Liberation Army to Barbados since the two countries established diplomatic ties 41 years ago.
He stressed that over the past four decades, China and Barbados have enjoyed a healthy and stable relationship based on mutual trust, fruitful pragmatic cooperation, enhanced people-to-people exchanges and deepened military cooperation.
“A friend in need is a friend indeed,” the diplomat said, while expressing hope that the military aid would enhance the BDF’s defence capacity.
He also thanked the BDF for its assistance in the evacuation of Chinese nationals from Dominica in the aftermath of Hurricane Maria last September.
Ambassdor Yan also gave the undertaking that China would join with its international counterparts to tackle global and regional security challenges by providing public security solutions and expanding its “friends circle”.