Barbados will open new diplomatic offices in Kenya, Ghana and United Arab Emirates, while at the same time extending its diplomatic mission in Asia.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and Chair of the Cabinet Sub-Committee on COVID-19 Senator Dr Jerome Walcott, today announced that former Member of Parliament Gline Clarke will assume the position of High Commissioner to Canada, while businessman Alexander McDonald will take up the post as High Commissioner to the Republic of Kenya and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office at Nairobi.
He also indicated that multilingual professional Hallam Henry, who is fluent in Mandarin with hands-on experience in the Chinese business sector and a keen interest in Chinese politics, has been appointed Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China.
Experienced businessman Gabriel Abed who is widely recognized as a leading international authority on digital currencies and blockchain technology has been appointed Ambassador to the United Arabs Emirates, while career Foreign Service Officer with extensive experience in promoting and advancing Barbados’ interest internationally, Francois Jackman will serve as Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations Office in New York.
The Minister sought to explain that in Ghana, the High Commission in Accra will be used to further consolidate Barbados’ relationships with Ghana, which is the ancestral homeland of a large proportion of the population of Barbados. The High Commission will work to advance multiple ongoing initiatives intended to foster a deep and mutually beneficial relationship between Barbados and Ghana, and will also pursue new platforms to advance the pursuit by Barbados of economic growth opportunities in Ghana and other countries in western Africa, Dr Walcott said.
In Kenya, the office will serve as Barbados’ Permanent Mission to the United Nations Office in Nairobi, which is the third-largest United Nations Office in the world, and which is the Headquarters for the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UN-Habitat). The Mission in Nairobi will therefore be able to ensure a heightened and sustained level of participation by Barbados in the work and deliberations of both of these organizations, which plan an important role with respect to programmes and initiatives being undertaken on the island.
“In the United Arab Emirates, the establishment of an Embassy in Abu Dhabi will serve to significantly advance the growth of a stronger bilateral partnership with the [UAE], which is one of the most developed countries in the Middle East and wields considerable power in the region.
“The diplomatic presence in Abu Dhabi will also facilitate the pursuit by Barbados of economic growth opportunities in the region, and will be a platform for the formation and strengthening of strategic alliances with other Gulf States,” he said.
Minister Walcott said his Ministry was also moving to further diversify the different ways in which Barbados represents and promotes its interest overseas. He said, consequently, a Commercial and Cultural Officer will be stationed in the Barbados High Commission in Accra Ghana, while a Diaspora Relations Officer will be incorporated into the staff complement at the Barbados High Commission to the United Kingdom in London.
“We now propose to engage in an enhanced platform of commercial diplomacy, working with both the private sector and public sector, in order to deepen trade relations with other countries and bring about an increase in Barbados’ exports of its goods and services.
“Enhanced commercial diplomacy will lead to an expanded network to support trade, especially South-South trade. It is the Ministry’s intention, over time, to place additional commercial attachés in the overseas diplomatic Missions, and to better utilize the Honorary Consul network in this endeavour to build on opportunities for trade and business,” Dr Walcott said.
The Minister said in this regard, Everil Lewis will be appointed as Diaspora Relations Officer in the High Commission to the United Kingdom; and Phil Phillips as Commercial and Cultural Attaché in the High Commission to the Republic of China.
“The aforementioned will take place within the framework of a renewed Country Team mechanism and concomitantly with the development of an efficient coordinating mechanism for External Engagement, which the Cabinet approved last Thursday,” he said.
Senator Walcott also announced during the update that Ambassador Liz Thompson will be based in Bridgetown, with special responsibility for climate change, Small Island Development States (SIDs) issues and the law of the sea. (AH)