Barbados joined with Canada to celebrate the North American country’s 150th anniversary with a formal affair at the Canadian Embassy on Sunday.
With the Caribbean boasting a 110-year long trade relationship with that country, Canadian High Commissioner Marie Legault shared that the region has contributed and benefitted culturally and economically from their friendly partnerships, with Barbados receiving $70 million annually from Canadian direct investment.
“Over the last 50 years, measures taken by Barbados have created the enabling environment for an international business and financial sector to flourish. And similarly, measures taken by Canada have enabled Canadian companies to take full advantage of it to create the current state of sophisticated economic linkages between our economies,” she said.
Legault added that her country has welcomed a plethora of Caribbean people who have contributed significantly to Canada’s diverse society.
“Immigration policies and programmes have been instrumental in welcoming Barbadians and West Indians to Canada over the years, and this has contributed in a significant way to Canada’s society fabric,” she commented.
The High Commissioner assured those in the audience, including Prime Minister Freundel Stuart, that Canada’s relations with Barbados would continue for years to come, as they continue to encourage diversity and democracy.
“Barbadians can expect Canadian support on the priorities that we have set to try to make a difference on the global level: supporting the middle class and not leaving anyone behind, advancing gender equality, fighting climate change and promoting respect for diversity and inclusion,” Legault promised.
Also addressing the hundreds who gathered at the Embassy’s Bishop Court Hill, St Michael location, Prime Minister Stuart spoke of the long history between the two countries.
With the Barbadian Diaspora in Canada consisting of 40,000 people and the number of Canadians living in Barbados estimated at around 12,000, he said the partnership was mutually beneficial.
“The kinship between Barbados and Canada is a credit to both of us,” he said. “Many Barbadians have left this small island to undertake studies or explore opportunities in the vast country in the north which offered a wider range of options and these Barbadians have been made to feel at home in Canada.”