Serenading ‘good Barbados- Guyana relations’
BARBADOS’ MINISTER of Foreign Affairs and Guyana’s consul general Michael Brotherson have been serenading the increasingly good relations between the two member states of our Caribbean Community.
Latest occasion for pointing to mutually satisfactory relations – encompassing trade, economic investment and most importantly, a discernable, widening people-to-people focus – was Guyana’s celebration last month of its 47th independence anniversary, hosted by Guyana’s consular representative.
This quite desirable improved environment in bilateral relations could be directly linked to “very warm personal and professional understandings” that have developed between Barbados’ Foreign Minister Maxine McClean and her Guyanese counterpart Carolyn Rodrigues-Birkett.
The current environment sharply contrasts with previous social and political tensions pertaining to recurring unpleasant immigration-related treatment of Guyanese nationals over recent years, and which had generated media reports around intemperate verbal outbursts and, worse, degrading physical treatment.
Today, the mood within officialdom and quite evident in people-to-people relations is consistent with an historical post-independence embrace by governments in Bridgetown and Georgetown that now also benefit a younger generation of citizens in both countries – citizens who need to better acquaint themselves with what’s positive in Guyanese/Barbadian ties within a Caribbean Community for which their successive governments have played key roles.
I think I am correct in saying that Barbados’ McClean and Guyana’s Rodrigues-Birkett are the only two female foreign ministers in CARICOM; and it is to their credit that they have succeeded in restoring normal and quite civilized relations befitting enlightened diplomatic relations between two founding member states of CARICOM.
Their success can hardly escape the attention of the community’s two women prime ministers, Jamaica’s Portia Simpson Miller and Trinidad and Tobago’s Kamla Persad-Bissessar.
For now, it is quite relevant to also recall the sterling contributions made here in Barbados by Guyanese, starting with the pioneering efforts and very humble resources of the late Consul Norman Faria; the much maximized initiatives of the Guyana Association of Barbados Inc. and last but not least, Guyana’s long-serving, indomitable director general of foreign affairs and ambassador to CARICOM Elizabeth Harper.
The well known entrepreneurs of Barbados (and also Trinidad and Tobago) currently involved in major economic development initiatives in Guyana have an obligation to ensure positive relations between Barbados and Guyana, consistent with the laudable goals of the regional economic integration movement that is CARICOM.
• Rickey Singh is a noted Caribbean journalist; [email protected]