Much to share


A strategic alliance between Barbados and Sweden could prove beneficial on the path to a greener world economy.

“…We are very close to Barbados when in comes to international climate negotiations. We have similar views, and Sweden is at the forefront in Europe when it comes to alternative energy, which they are working on here as well,” Swedish Ambassador Claes Hammar said last Wednesday evening.

He spoke to Barbados TODAY during a cocktail reception at the home of the Honorary Consul of Sweden for Barbados, Titti Kerr-Axelsson in Welches, Christ Church. The reception, which hosted dignataries from a number of countries, formed part of activities of the Swedish Conference, ran from April 24 to 26 at the Aquatica Hotel.

“…Internationally in negotiations, we can try to convince certain larger countries that this is the way to go… it is an enormous change that we are trying to do… Our main concern in the melting of the ice in the North Pole. We are actually afraid of something happening to the Gulf Stream. We can only live in Sweden because of the Gulf Stream which comes from here. If it goes somewhere else, we cannot live in Sweden anymore. [Barbados] is afraid because if the water level rises 10 meters, a lot of Barbados will be gone. So we [can work] internationally and we can work bilaterally [as well].. We can work together in international fora like the United Nations… [Additionally] Barbados is active in regional meetings and we are also active in our regional meetings, so [we are looking for] sort of cooperation.” he stated.

Additionally, Hammar said Sweden could provide ideas and best practices for the use of alternative energy.

“We are doing a lot of research on wind and biomass and some solar country. Barbados is a small country, so [it] needs help by looking at smaller countries to see what works practically.

Consuls from 15 Caribbean countries are on the island for the meeting, the first of its kind.

Hammar explained the meeting would focus on the “traditional” work of consuls, such as assisting Swedes who run into trouble or anyone who wished to obtain a visa. Furthermore, he hoped to expose the consuls, some of whom have been recently appointed, on Swedish politics, economy, tourism and investment opportunities.

“It could be helping Swedish companies export here. We believe in free trade so it could be Barbadian companies, investments in either direction, cultural exchanges [and] science exchanges.”

The Ambassador told Barbados TODAY the country was working on promoting “Brand Sweden” and hoped to strengthen the image of the country in the Caribbean as well.

“Coca Cola [and] McDonalds have strong brands. The Caribbean has a strong brand, so we want Sweden to have a strong brand as well… We want to build an image of an interesting country where you would want to go to study, visit or make investments.”

Hammar pointed to existing connections between the two countries, including the fact that the island’s telephone system was configured by Swedish company, Ericsson. Also, the cannons at the Garrison were made in Sweden. (LW)

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