Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley addresses a large gathering for Barbados’ National Day at Expo 2020 in Dubai. (Photo credit: PMO Barbados)
Author: Julie Carrington/BGIS
Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley is optimistic that the Barbados Embassy in Abu Dhabi, slated to open tomorrow, will show that Barbados is serious about deepening diplomatic relations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and creating opportunities for Barbadian residents.
Addressing a large gathering on hand for the Barbados National Day themed: From Sugar Cane to BlockChain at Expo 2020 in Dubai, UAE today, the Prime Minister contended that although her country was in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic and an International Monetary Fund programme, the decision was made that “if we are to produce global citizens with Bajan roots, we must open our hearts and open our doors”.
“And it is against that backdrop that we took the decision to establish an Embassy here in Abu Dhabi, which will formally open tomorrow. I hope that with the appointment of our Ambassador, and with the opening of that Embassy, that you in this country will recognise that we are serious about building the deep relationships and creating the opportunities for business that hitherto may not have been there,” she stated.
Ms. Mottley also expressed optimism that the partnership would see direct airlift between Barbados and the UAE.
The Prime Minister, a staunch defender of small island developing states in terms of the climate crisis, challenged the leaders of the UAE to “make that difference … such that the people of the world can come together and save the planet”.
She added: “For what is at stake, is our very existence, and to say that the world in which we live does not know of extinct species or does not know of nations that have failed, is to assume an arrogance that would be the beginning of our fall as a people. We can have extinct species and we can have failed nation-states. If we are to avoid it, it is not simply the action of governments that will make that difference; it is your action as individual citizens of the earth.”
Ms. Mottley also announced a partnership between her government and XPRIZE Foundation – a non-profit organisation that designs and hosts public competitions intended to encourage technological development to benefit humanity – to restore the world’s coral reefs.
She pointed out that a collaborative effort was needed to raise the USD $20 million for the prizes that would allow participants to rebuild coral reefs across three hectares targeting three coral species.
The Prime Minister believed that the initiative would “stem the tide” as it relates to the destruction of the world’s coral reefs by 2030.
“So, I use this opportunity today to say to us let us come together and save our planet Earth because it relies on us as human beings making those sensible choices day-by-day if it is going to work.
Ms. Mottley added that the Expo brought the world together at an uncertain time in human civilisation that was characterised by war and conflict, COVID-19 and economic uncertainty for countries around the globe.
She proffered the view that building bridges and respecting diversity in the world, were the best avenues for emerging out of crises.
“This World Expo is the platform and a microcosm of what is possible when we come together and recognise that our common humanity binds us and that if we take the time to understand each other, there is so much more that we have in common than separates us,” the Prime Minister underlined.
Ms. Mottley also congratulated the UAE for the “magnificent” work it had accomplished in the midst of the global pandemic and its achievements during its 51 years as an independent nation.
She told the Minister of Tolerance and Co-existence and the Commissioner-General of Expo 2020, Sheik Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, and other UAE government officials, that there is great opportunity for further partnership and cooperation between the two countries.
“Just as you are in the East that beacon, we can be in the West that beacon and if we can build bridges between our two countries, then we can perhaps, in spite of our small size, begin to influence what happens in this world, particularly at these challenging times, where voices matter as much as size…,” the Prime Minister suggested.