Prime Minister Mia Mottley addressed the nation today from Ilaro Court after returning from a five-nation tour of Europe, Africa and Asia.
Mottley touched on issues ranging from climate change, debt and financing, food security, and transportation, among others.
Bur prior to that, she first expressed condolences to the family of the late fourth Prime Minister, Sir Lloyd Erskine Sandiford, on his passing earlier this week.
Here are some of the talking points:
The Prime Minister’s first stop was in the United Kingdom where she addressed British ambassadors and High Commissioners.
The UK Government has thrown its supports behind the Bridgetown Initiative.
The delegation also visited an exhibition related to the Windrush generation.
The Prime Minister attended the Future of Work Summit in Geneva, Switzerland.
Will soon meet with UNCTAD and will host a global supplies chain forum in Barbados next year.
There was a meeting with the World Trade Organisation.
Discussion will soon start with the fishermen.
Barbados has been chosen to be the regional headquarters of the Afreximbank. It has made available US $1.5 billion to the region with room for expansion if all the countries come on board.
There will be a pilot scheme to facilitate use of the Pan African Payments and Settlements System which will be a “huge, huge benefit if it works”. This will streamline trade by netting off transactions and minimising the need for extensive (United States) foreign currency exchanges.
Deputy Prime Minister Santia Bradshaw will be leading a team from the Barbados Water Authority to the Netherlands to get “substantive technical support” on Barbados’ water woes.
Coming out of the Summit for a New Financial Pact in Paris, natural disaster clauses will now be par for the course in debt agreements. If Barbados is hit by a natural disaster, payments would be paused for two years, to be paid at the end of the loan, but would unlock about $1.9 billion.
Have to find money and mechanisms to unlock $1.5 trillion for private sector financing to do mitigation to help stabilise the climate and emissions.
Prime Minister Mottley compare the challenges with climate change to World War III and if we don’t act today to save the world, small island states are the first that will perish.
We have to protect against, climate, biodiversity loss, pandemics, food and security, water. There will also have to be a conversation on soils as they are degrading quickly and this has led to declining yields.
The pandemic has worsened the digital divide
In China, there was discussion on healthcare; expanded financing of healthcare facilities; cooperation on transport, food security and agriculture, blue economy; existing projects like Scotland District Rehabilitation, Sam Lord’s Castle Project and the National Stadium.
Barbados is discussing debt-for-climate swaps.
In China, there was discussion on healthcare; expanded financing of healthcare facilities; cooperation on transport, food security and agriculture, blue economy; existing projects like Scotland District Rehabilitation, Sam Lord’s Castle Project and the National Stadium
On the new National Stadium: There will be 10 000 seats in Phase 1. Phase 2 could possibly be a second stand on the other side, but that is not under consideration at this time. This will be a grant to the people of Barbados, not a loan.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kerrie Symmonds signed about five agreements during the tour.
The Chinese vice-Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs will join the CARICOM Heads in Trinidad next week.
It will be the 50th Anniversary of CARICOM and on July 31, 2023 there will be a one-off National Public Holiday.
There is no plan for any gender inclusive bathrooms or for discussions of gender fluidity in schools, but there also won’t be discrimination against adults.
Full coverage in the Weekend Nation.