Mottley: Place focus on the East

The Opposition Barbados Labour Party is proposing that Barbados establish diplomatic and commercial relations with Africa and the Middle East.

It was a suggestion made by St. Michael North East MP Mia Mottley, who identified Ghana, South Africa and Jordan as three places the island could focus on.

She was speaking in the House of Assembly today as members debated and approved a money resolution to pay for equipment at Barbados’ British mission.

She said establishing embassies in China, Brazil and Cuba was the first stage of the island moving beyond its traditional areas of commercial and trade relationships “that we would have inherited as a result of being a British colony, beyond the framework of the North Atlantic”.

“The question of there not being greater utilisation of a transport link even beyond the establishment of a diplomatic presence is one of great concern for us,” the former Opposition Leader stated.

“An air services agreement with countries in Africa makes eminent sense at this point in time because more than even London and Miami, the African continent opens up the east of the world to us.

“I believe that one of the major economic platforms on which this country’s growth shall continued to be built is to resurrect the notion of Barbados being that hub to the Western world and equally to the Eastern World and from the North to the South.

“I believe that we should set out deliberately to establish Barbados as one of the major hubs between North and South America, Europe and South America, between South American and Africa, between South America and those in the Indian Ocean on the Eastern side of Africa,” she added.

Mottley said there was enough activity in the transport of goods and people to make such an exercise worthwhile.

“The commercial activity between Ghana and Nigeria is significant enough that I think that the diplomatic presence ought to be there, but with also a commercial presence in South Africa,” she said.

“We have now reached a point where apart from Africa I believe that we also need to have some kind of conduit, commercial or diplomatic…, in the Middle East.” (SC)

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