Panama and Barbados to strengthen ties

A recent bilateral engagement focused on strengthening relations between Barbados and Panama in trade, culture, and historical tourism.

Kerrie Symmonds, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade welcomed the chance to strengthen bilateral relations when Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Panama, Janaina Tewaney Mencomo, paid him a courtesy call at his office.

Mr. Symmonds welcomed Ms. Mencomo to Barbados, noting that strengthening connections with Panama is consistent with the government’s aim of establishing and expanding relationships with Latin American countries.

The Panamanian Foreign Minister’s visit follows an announcement in February that the Barbados Cabinet had approved Panama’s proposal to establish a diplomatic presence in Barbados.

Minister Mencomo stated that details are still being worked out but emphasized that political will is present. She noted that Panama and Barbados would be inextricably linked since thousands of Barbadians, mostly men, worked on the Panama Canal and influenced Panama City’s culture, particularly music.

Minister Symmonds agreed that the two countries have significant genealogical and cultural ties. He noted that at a time when Barbados had limited economic activity and job opportunities, the remittances of individuals who went to work on the Canal helped to boost the economy.

Other topics covered during the discussion were the climate issue and its influence on the Canal, how the crisis hurts trade and the cost of living, and promoting Barbados as an aviation and cargo hub connecting the southern Caribbean to Panama.

Panama in Central America is known as “the bridge between two worlds” because it first opened for commerce on August 15, 1914.

Barbados began diplomatic relations with the Republic of Panama in August 1975.

Barbados’ Ambassador to Panama, Ian Walcott; Senior Foreign Service Officer, Dr Ricardo Kellman; Foreign Service Officers, SherryLisa Waldron and Davion Sealy; Ambassador-designate to Barbados, Xiomara Perez; Chargè D’Affaires, Bolivar Jack Barrios; Director of Pro Panama, Carmen Gisela Vergara; and Advisor and Chief of Staff to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Flor Flores Tello, were also present at the courtesy call.

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