The relationship of the people was strong and bonded by blood long before Barbados and Guyana gained Independence, and now, as the CARICOM sister state celebrates its 53rd anniversary, country representatives are projecting that both nations will lead the regional integration movement by example.
Barbados and Guyana gained political Independence in 1966 with the Guyanese having their day on May 26, some six months before that of this island, and the Consulate of that Republic hosted a wide cross-section of persons from the two countries along with members of the diplomatic corps for celebratory cocktails last night.
Guyana’s Consul General Cita Pilgrim seized the opportunity to note that despite Barbados being among the first set of countries to establish diplomatic relations with her country, “Barbadians and Guyanese, however, have forged ties long before these formal diplomatic relations were established.”
She pointed to a planned Barbados documentary celebrating the life of native shipper, Captain Eric Hassell, who sailed the region for more than 50 years.
“Guyana remembers Captain Hassell with fondness. Without electronics and navigational devices of today he would arrive in British Guiana on a Saturday morning and be royally received by the authorities.
“Arriving also in British Guiana was another Barbadian captain, Captain Sealy, to an equal reception,” she said at the consulate’s Highgate Park, Collymore Rock, office.
“There was never an immigration problem with the living cargo. British Guiana became the richer for it. We should not forget the British Guiana pan-boilers who created sugar and families as they plied their trade throughout the Caribbean,” she added, and suggested, “perhaps Guyana and Barbados could, once again, be in the forefront of the integration movement”.
Minister within the Ministry of Foreign Trade, Sandra Husband, echoed the Consul General’s sentiment when she spoke of Barbados enjoying “a long and close relationship with Guyana for many years, and it was seen in the constant movement of our peoples, moving from Barbados to Guyana, moving from Guyana to Barbados. And very soon another movement of Barbadians down to Guyana and long may it continue.”
Noting that “this has been very beneficial to both countries,” Husbands said, “we will lead them in the integration movement”. (GA)