Prime Minister Freundel Stuart posing with some of the repeat visitors to Barbados (A. Miller/BGIS)
By Sharon Austin
BRIDGETOWN, Barbados (BGIS) -- The government of Barbados will not be relaxing its vigilance and efforts to ensure that the island continues to be a safe and congenial place for its citizens and visitors, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart said while delivering remarks at a reception he hosted for repeat visitors on Wednesday evening.
Stuart told his audience: “We have a duty to continue to make Barbados attractive and comfortable for those who visit us. So, one of the first requirements we have to satisfy is to make sure that when you come here you feel safe. We place a very high premium on the promotion and preservation of law and order and I feel proud to say that, generally speaking, we have been quite successful in that endeavour.”
He acknowledged that throughout the world there were “miscreants trying to disturb the peace”. However, he noted that no government could take all the precautions necessary to stop such incidents from happening.
The prime minister stated that the government had to ensure that the machinery of the public service was well oiled, so as to ensure that the visitors were not frustrated in their attempts to do business here. He, therefore, encouraged them to report any recurring inconveniences they were experiencing so the systems could be improved.
He added that the warmth of Barbadians also appealed to tourists.
“If people are not polite, courteous and charming when they deal with our visitors, they will feel no impulse to come back to Barbados. So, we applaud our people for the charm they continue to show. It is nothing we have to work too hard at, it is natural, I can assure you, and that is something we will continue to work on to make sure Barbados continues to be the destination of choice which you have designated it to be,” he said.
Stuart told the visitors, who were mainly from the United Kingdom, the United States and Canada, that Barbados had a good relationship with those countries.
“We have a very good relationship with Canada, most of our international business and financial services sector comes out of Canada, most of our commercial banks are Canadian and movement between Canada and Barbados is very easy. In fact, the Minister of Tourism [Richard Sealy] informed me recently that we are going to have an increase in the airlift from Canada to Barbados in a matter of weeks, I believe,” he pointed out.
He noted that the tourism industry was the lead foreign exchange earner for Barbados and disclosed that the UK was the country’s largest source market, followed by the USA, CARICOM and Canada. He added that this country was building other relationships in other parts of Europe and urged the visitors to share the news that “Barbados is open for business”.
Those in attendance included the acting minister of tourism, Senator Irene Sandiford-Garner, officials from the ministry of tourism and Barbados Tourism Authority, as well as those who have been visiting Barbados since the 1970s and at least one person who was on his 50th visit here.