Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Business, Sandra Husbands, engages with outgoing Netherlands Ambassador, Sandor Marnix Raphael Varga van Kibed en Makfalva during a recent courtesy call. Looking on is Honorary Consul of Netherlands in Barbados, Anthony Gittens. (Credit: J. Kelly/BGIS)
Barbados and the Kingdom of the Netherlands are keen on strengthening their bilateral relations in the areas of climate impact, trade and capacity building.
These matters were discussed recently when outgoing Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Sandor Marnix Raphael Varga van Kibed en Makfalva, paid a courtesy call on Minister of State in the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Business, Sandra Husbands, at her Culloden Road, St. Michael office.
Minister Husbands placed emphasis on climate as the world’s biggest test, and highlighted the need to formulate a global solution “or all of us will suffer not only the climate impacts across the globe, but the climate refugees will also be a problem”. She added: “The second problem will be that the consumption levels of the world will drop.”
Ambassador Varga noted that a worldwide decrease in consumption would cause some of the Caribbean islands to lose their viability, and expressed a desire to see the Netherlands and the Caribbean working together on this issue, since Europe already has a climate policy in place.
The Minister pointed out that the European Union had given significant assistance to the greening initiative and would welcome that continued collaboration. She also encouraged further support of the Netherlands for issues such as the Bridgetown Initiative.
Ambassador Varga articulated the point that many Dutch companies are active here in the region, especially in the area of wind energy. Minister Husbands indicated that Barbados is very keen on offshore wind farms, saying: “We really need some technical assistance.
“We need advisors or guidance on how do we go about setting up those wind farms and doing it in such a way – as a tourism destination – that we locate them to make the very best use of our seascape, without the interruption of our tourism beauty.”
The Ambassador commended the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for growing stronger due to improved cooperation among member states.
In response, Minister Husbands noted that one of the matters for discussion with CARICOM is the necessity to work with the European countries in terms of trade and capacity building.
Ambassador Varga gave the assurance that further engagements and the promotion of investments with his country would be forthcoming.
Barbados and the Kingdom of the Netherlands established diplomatic relations on December 12, 1969.
Author: Joyanne Kelly/BGIS