Press release 43/2005
(17 February 2005)
President of the Republic of Suriname Ministers of Foreign Affairs
Excellencies Officials Ladies and Gentlemen
This afternoon I have had the honour and the pleasure of signing An Agreement
for the Deepening of Bilateral Cooperation between the Government of Barbados
and the Government of the Republic of Suriname. It is the hope of the Government
and people of Barbados that through this Agreement we can strengthen ties at the
official level and equally improve relations at the people to people level
between our two societies.
We believe that our shared future in the region should be built on a common
desire to assist each other and to cooperate as fully as possible.
In the Caribbean, we have amassed over time significant expertise in a number
of fields, both through formal learning and through traditional knowledge .
Often, we are too slow to recognize how much and in what ways we can assist each
other through sharing such expertise and knowledge. In addition, and as is the
case between Barbados and Suriname, we do not go far enough in exploring each
other's markets and we sometimes miss opportunities for trade and investment.
Consequently, we need to give attention to these matters and have now done so
in this Agreement by putting in place a structured framework for cooperation in
a range of areas that include trade and investment, agriculture, housing,
environment, education and training, science and technology, marine affairs,
culture and sports.
For us, the conclusion of this Agreement marks an important step in practical
arrangements that both reflect and strengthen the spirit of community that is
vital for the progress of regional integration.
I am deeply convinced that the deepening of economic and cultural ties which
the Agreement provides for will not only be to our mutual good but will
contribute in a significant way to a solid foundation for the CARICOM Single
Market and Economy (CSME), since the strength of the regional framework is, in
the final analysis, so very dependent upon the collective strength of the
bilateral relations of Member States. This Agreement, therefore, has positive
systemic value for our wider integration project.
As you will be aware, Excellency, apart from my position as Prime Minister
and Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, I am also the Minister responsible
for Culture in Barbados. I am keenly aware of the role of cultural relations in
strengthening regional identity and fraternity, and in encouraging freedom of
movement and the creation of joint ventures and regional enterprises in the CSME.
Once we can improve our people to people relations, intra-Caribbean tourism can
grow, regional investment can thrive and hopefully, bilingualism can become a
stronger feature in our societies and transform itself, especially in the case
of Barbados, from being less of a challenge and more of an opportunity.
I am therefore eager to see cultural exchanges promoted through this
I hope that our public and private sectors will take advantage of the
opportunities that lie ahead for our countries' socio-economic advancement and I
therefore urge that the Commission provided for in the Agreement can be
established very soon and begin its work at an early date in order to give
meaning and prompt effect to the commitments we have just made.