President of the Republic of Chile Michelle Bachelet (left) and Prime Minister Freundel Stuart. (Picture by Nigel Browne.)
PRIME MINISTER Freundel Stuart and President of the Republic of Chile, Michelle Bachelet, have expressed a keen desire for both countries to strengthen and expand their 50-year-old friendship.
They expressed this wish today during a courtesy call and reiterated it later when officials from both countries met for a working meeting at Ilaro Court.
Stuart pointed out that Chile was the first Latin America country Barbados established diplomatic relations with after its Independence.
President Bachelet added that it was necessary to examine areas both countries needed to collaborate on and look to see how they could be expanded.
During the hour-long talks, Prime Minister Stuart and President Bachelet discussed climate change and the effects of non-biodegrable materials on the environment, including marine life; the situation in Venezuela and CARICOM’s response; and the Air Services Agreement which was signed in November 2013, and entered into force last year, among others.
Stuart also expressed Barbados’ interest in negotiating a Double Taxation Agreement with Chile, while stressing that this country is “a clean, well regulated, low tax jurisdiction” and not a tax haven as was suggested by the OECD.
Those attending the meeting included the Minister of Agriculture Dr David Estwick; Minister of the Environment Dr Denis Lowe; Minister of Foreign Affairs Senator Maxine McClean; and Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Senator Darcy Boyce.
Chile’s officials included Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heraldo Muñoz; Ambassador to Barbados, Fernando Schmidt; and Minister of Agriculture, Carlos Furche.
President Bachelet arrived in Barbados late last night for the official visit and left this afternoon. She paid a courtesy call on Acting Governor General, Sir Philip Greaves; had extensive discussions with Prime Minister Stuart; visited the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency; and was hosted by the Prime Minister at a lunch at the Sandy Lane Hotel. (BGIS)