The first-ever virtual trade mission between Barbados and Scotland was launched today.
The two countries, determined that the global COVID-19 pandemic will not be a deterrent, are staging the three-day event to showcase products and services from both territories.
Minister of International Business and Industry Ronald Toppin, delivering the feature address, shared the country’s vision for developing businesses and global excellence going forward.
“Our vision for future investment is to build world-class financial platforms and services in several new areas, including medical cannabis, e-health, e-education, the management of life sciences, culinary sciences, robotics, retirement villages, data and cloud engineering, fintech, cybersecurity and an increased menu of exports. Our aim is to become a leading hub for experiments, for pilot and scale ideas, while seeking to attract investment that propels the continuous pursuit of the United Nations sustainable development goals,” he said.
Toppin said he expects the mission will see “productive exchanges and future linkages from this engagement throughout the next few days”.
“Given Scotland’s robust economic strategy in supporting growth and diversity through the economic pillars of financial, human and social capital, undoubtedly they are experiencing some successes to be shared and lessons to be learnt,” he said.
The Minister said that Barbados’ appeal went beyond the charm of its people, its high quality of life, educated workforce, and record of social, political and economic stability.
“The Government of Barbados is extremely desirous of attracting foreign direct investment and actively seeks to encourage businesses of substance to establish here. The opportunity to engage in partnerships and joint ventures is also a feasible option,” he added.
Toppin noted that Barbados and Scotland share a long history and expressed the hope that ties can be further strengthened.
“Scotland’s connection to Barbados and our historic trading links are as old as British colonisation itself. Now we all look forward to the additional benefits that may be unearthed as we gain an even better appreciation of the possibilities that exist across the waters and within our borders.
“The Government of Barbados affirms its dedication to deepen and strengthen its relationship with Scotland by providing a facilitatory environment conducive to enabling businesses to thrive while enhancing potential investors’ global competitive advantage,” Minister Toppin said.
During his brief remarks, Scotland’s Minister of Trade, Investment, Innovation, Ivan McKee said the event was being held at the same time his country was celebrating St Andrew’s Day, Scotland’s official national day which also falls on Barbados’ Independence Day, November 30.
“The trade mission always coincides with St Andrew’s Day – one of the key dates on the Scottish calendar, the patron saint of Barbados. I am very proud that St Andrew’s Day has become synonymous with kindness and acts of generosity. St Andrew’s Day helps to keep the spirit of Scots alive by coming together, helping ours within our communities and, very importantly, beyond those communities. A very special welcome to our Barbadian friends who also celebrate St Andrew’s Day and I wish you happy and safe celebrations also on your national day of Independence,” McKee said.
Pointing, like Toppin, to the two countries’ ties over the years, he said: “Scotland and Barbados share longstanding historical and cultural ties and I’m glad these ties have been maintained and strengthened in the very challenging world we face today. A Barbados tartan has been designed. You know you’ve made it when you’ve got your own tartan. That is the tartan I am wearing on my tie today.”
Scotland is recognised globally as a highly competitive international destination and an attractive place for companies to do business. (IMC)