Sir Garry, Rihanna to be Bajan image flag bearers in the UK
LONDON, England – International cricket legend and national hero Sir Garfield Sobers and multi Grammy award winner and pop icon Rihanna have been chosen as Barbados’ image flag bearers in the United Kingdom and Europe.
In making the announcement at a reception marking the country’s 48th Independence anniversary, High Commissioner to London Guy Hewitt said while the UK remained a major tourism market for Barbados it was time to refresh the island’s image.
“Sir Garfield Sobers, who one generation knows and reveres, [and] Rihanna, which another generation knows and reveres, and some of our fine products, such as Mount Gay Rum, which is an iconic brand of Barbados, will be part of our marketing strategy going forward,” he disclosed.
Hewitt said the Commission would continue to work with the Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc., which has an office at the High Commission, on researching how “we can expand Barbados’ tourism market, looking at niche markets and non-traditional areas”.
Looking to the future, the ambassador said a three-pronged approach would be used.
“We have our 50th anniversary celebrations in 2016 and we are planning to showcase the best of Barbados in terms of culture, sports, investment and tourism, in terms of refreshing Brand Barbados. Secondly, we have tens of thousands of Barbadian here in England who have a desire to go home and invest in Barbados and we must facilitate that for them. All of this will be done in a refurbished High Commission. We have five floors, which we want to renovate to make this building the epicentre and engine room for Barbados-UK relations.”
The diplomat told Barbados TODAY the mission was also seriously looking at new business ventures that were expected to bring economic benefits to Bajans, such as increasing the alliance with the Barbados Ships Registry.
Asked how flying the Barbados flag on a ship would benefit the country, Hewitt explained that the Treasury collects a registration fee from ships that fly the country’s flag.
“However, beyond that there are other opportunities where we can create the means for Barbadian to get jobs as seamen on these ships. Also for the owners of these ships to see Barbados as a jurisdiction where they can register companies, do their insurance and also reside as a low tax jurisdiction.”
Reflecting on the country’s Independence, Hewitt told the reception that considerable strides had been made socially and economically.
However, he said “there is much that we still need to do to be able to consolidate our Independence’.
“I should remind you that as West Indians our journey to Independence started in the UK with negotiations at Lancaster House and ended up in our capitals, as we raised our national flags for the first time,” he pointed out.
The Independence reception was attended by heads of mission and staff from the St Lucia, Guyana and Nigeria, among other dignitaries. (LA)