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Barbados says farewell to Chinese Ambassador
By Enricco Bohne
A number of representatives of various Barbadian organisations and businesses, both of the private and public sector, gathered earlier this week at the Chinese Embassy in Barbados to extend warm wishes to the outgoing Ambassador of China, His Excellency, Liu Huanxing.
Ambassador Liu began his tour of duty in July 2005. Under his tenure, the Chinese Government has funded and executed several construction projects in Barbados – also making available a number of scholarship and training opportunities to Barbadian nationals.
Boasting several years of experience in Caribbean Affairs, he has managed to successfully encourage cultural exchanges, economic cooperation and trade between the two countries. Without a doubt, Huanxing has played a critical role in the mutually beneficial relationship the People’s Republic of China and Barbados have enjoyed over the years.
It is difficult to highlight the wide extent of progress he has made in the strengthening of the firm bond between China and Barbados. Countless organisations here have benefitted from Huanxing’s presence, including the Barbados Defence Force, (BDF) which has received major enhancements with the donation of millions of dollars worth of equipment from the Chinese army. Several officers were also sent to China to receive various sorts of military training.
On September 15, 2006, the Ambassador, on behalf of the Chinese Embassy in Barbados, donated approximately 200 books on subjects of China’s politics, economy, culture, science and history to the main library of the Cave Hill campus of the University of the West Indies. It was the ambassador’s hope that this literature would serve to promote Barbadians’ understanding of China, as academic exchanges between the two nations strengthened.
This educational cooperation with Barbados has also taken fruit in the provision of government scholarships for students to pursue academic studies in China – with several Barbadian students having benefitted from the programme.
On November 14th 2008, Huanxing made a donation of over a thousand pieces of sports equipment to the National Sports Council, stemming from the close cooperation in sports between China and Barbados since the establishment of diplomatic ties.
In addition to areas of education and sports, trade and economic ties between the nations have increased, as well as opportunities in investment and tourism in the rapidly expanding markets of China.
“The Chinese Government encourages the Chinese enterprises to invest abroad including Barbados, so I hope more enterprises will come to Barbados to make a study and then to invest here,” Huanxing informed, adding that a team will be arriving from China to conduct a study on the Empire Theatre project.
“We can do many things if we deepen and extend the cooperation between China and Barbados. Both of our countries are developing countries … facing many challenges in international affairs and in our national development – especially economic development; so we can have more cooperation in trade, in the manufacturing industry, tourism, culture and education. I hope there will be more exchanges of visits between the two countries, especially between the enterprises of the two countries,” stated the Ambassador.
There has indeed been an increase in visits between China and Barbados, with Prime Minister the Right Hon. David Thompson paying an official visit, and the Chinese Vice Premier Hui Langyu visiting Barbados. Out of these visits, the two have signed accords for greater ties in agriculture, economic development and culture.
“I enjoyed every minute of my stay in Barbados, the people are very friendly and very kind to me,” said a smiling Huanxing. He added that he experienced no challenges in the relations between China and Barbados, noting “the two countries are facing challenges of the global financial crisis, so we can share our experiences and exchange views on how to overcome the difficulties we have.”
While Barbados is saddened to see Ambassador Huanxing go and extends its appreciation for all of his efforts, we look forward to a similar relationship with his successor – further strengthening the bonds of friendship and cooperation which he has established.
Thank you Ambassador, and farewell.