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Barbados charting its own foreign policy path

Barbados charting its own foreign policy path
Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Ryan Straughn, as he participated in the 1st Session of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent in Geneva, Switzerland. (BGIS)

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Minister in the Ministry of Finance and Economic Affairs, Ryan Straughn, has given the assurance that Barbados’ foreign policy efforts in Africa will continue as the island continues to seek out new business ventures in other territories.

Straughn made the commitment recently while participating in the Human Rights 5th Meeting of the 1st Session of the Permanent Forum on People of African Descent in Geneva, Switzerland.

In giving a synopsis of Barbados’ efforts since attaining Parliamentary Republic status one year ago, the Minister stressed that Government had determined to chart its own path through its Reclaiming our Atlantic Destiny Project.

In keeping with one of the project’s objectives to foster international relationships to position Barbados as a place where the world could better understand what transpired during slavery, Straughn told the forum that in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, the island established two diplomatic missions in Ghana, and Kenya in 2021, and more recently, set up an honorary mission in Rwanda.

Additionally, he said that Barbados, along with the African Export Import Bank, hosted the first AfriCaribbean Trade and Investment Forum in September, which attracted over 1 000 delegates, to explore opportunities for increased trade, and business and leisure activities between Africa and the Caribbean.

He also aid that Government’s Bridgetown Initiative would seek to reform the financial architecture to “address the historical inequities between North and South”.

“Our mission is to directly reconnect with those whom we have natural affinity. We shall be deliberate in increasing travel between our regions, this time by choice, and craft a new lived reality for the next generation of all young people of African descent.

“I ask this forum to join Barbados in the effort to Reclaim Our Atlantic Destiny and I look forward to welcoming you all to Barbados very soon to advance these important discussions, deepen ties and to deliver social and economic justice on behalf of those who have gone before,” Straughn stated.

He also pointed out that Barbados had the second largest archive of Transatlantic slave records, which were being digitised to not only give young people a strong sense of identity, but to serve as the foundation for the valuation of reparations. (BGIS)