Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean listens to a point made by French Ambassador Jacques Sturm during a courtesy call. (A. Miller/BGIS)
By Melissa Rollock
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) -- Barbados minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, Senator Maxine McClean, has praised the work being done by the French government to bolster regional security.
She was speaking during a courtesy call from French Ambassador Jacques Sturm on Tuesday.
McClean told the ambassador that CARICOM countries recognised their vulnerabilities since drug traffickers used the Caribbean as a transit point.
“We want success and we look forward to that but we also anticipate that with any successful fighting of [narcotics]… people will look to us as a flagship. On our own, we are really unable to fight that scourge so we are grateful for the contribution that you make,” she said.
Sturm thanked McClean for her government’s co-operation in the fight against illegal drugs and apprised her of a week of training which began on Tuesday for local law enforcement agencies.
It is being conducted by the Counter Narcotic Interagency Training Centre, which will be training members of the Royal Barbados Police Force, the Barbados Coast Guard and Customs Department on sailing vessel search and maritime intelligence and air trafficking/passenger targeting.
Members of the French Coast Guard, Customs and the National Investigation and Intelligence Division will be sharing their knowledge on trends of illicit trafficking during the training.
“…[This training] is important and I am very happy to hear that it is going on,” McClean stated.
Sturm also presented McClean with a copy of an Independence Day message in recognition of Barbados’ 47th anniversary of Independence last Saturday, from French President Francois Hollande.
“I am very appreciative and on behalf of the government and the people of Barbados. I would want to say thank you very much to President Hollande for this congratulatory message,” McClean acknowledged.
The ambassador and the foreign affairs minister also discussed ways in which Barbados could take advantage of the preferential trading arrangements which exist between Barbados and France through the Economic Partnership Agreement signed between member countries of the European Union and CARIFORUM.
Barbados and France established diplomatic relations in May, 1968.