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Stuart thanks visitors

RACHELLE AGARD, [email protected]

Stuart thanks visitors

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Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is praising repeat visitors for the confidence they have placed in the people of Barbados.

He was speaking during the second of four receptions for repeat visitors hosted at Ilaro Court, the official residence of the Prime Minister of Barbados on Wednesday night.

“There is available literature to suggest that as long ago as the 17th century, the late 1600s, Barbados was being described as a welcoming society, and since our historical tradition we have determined it is a tradition on which we should build. We are satisfied that our building has not been in vain because with every passing year we have been able to attract more and more people to this country,” he said.

Despite the intermittent showers, visitors descended on the foyer, where they were regaled by the strains of the George Lamming Primary School Choir, and the sixth formers of the Combermere School who were ushers for the night.

While Stuart noted Barbados used to be a sugar economy, he said the island had transitioned to reliance on tourism, which is now the leading sector.

“Today as evidence of the grand transition we’ve made from sugar to tourism, we struggle now to produce even 15 000 tonnes of sugar, and that should give you some idea of how important you have come to us in terms of you visiting this country and enjoying the warmth and hospitality of our people,” he said.

He added that successive Governments had invested heavily in Barbadians and the physical environment, to make it a “congenial place” that visitors would want to return.

“It is not as easy to get into the White House as it is to get into Ilaro Court. It is not as easy to get into Downing Street as it is to get into Ilaro Court; and it is not as easy to get into 24 Sussex Drive as it is to get into Ilaro Court. When you are in Barbados you enjoy privileges which are not as easily available to you as [elsewhere] . . .,” he said.

Receiving awards for their many visits to Barbados were Richard Gardiner for his 100 trips, Teresa Joy-Gallant for her 80 visits, Patti Austin who has 75 stays under her belt, and world renowned sailor Jimmy Cornell who has 40 visits.

Honourable mention was also made of 90-year-old Alphonso “Al” Green, a Barbadian who migrated to Boston in 1951. This year he will be inducted into the Red Sox Hall of Fame, after he was recognised for his dedicated service to his customers over the years. (RA)