Building a bridge is a careful, painstaking task. It calls for great skill and ingenuity, as well as detailed prior research, investigation and drawings.
A well designed bridge is built quickly, but it’s never built in a rush, it calls for proper measurement and testing as well as due deference to available experimentation.
I suggest that building the bridge to Latin America, figuratively speaking, is no different. That bridge is one which reconnects Barbados to Panama and Brazil and which builds on the strong historic links between these two impressive jurisdictions.
Barbados should seek to formulate a triangular fair or exhibition between itself, Panama and Brazil, which rotates from country to country each year.
The fair should comprise the areas of food, art, music, trade and in that regard specifically health care, agro-processing, renewable energy, things of that kind.
It should be organised at a high level through coordination between officials in the three jurisdictions, the type of collaboration which should be approached like the negotiating and signing of a tax treaty – at a high level by taking all of the relevant variables into account in formulating this triangular exhibition.
Barbados today has much to benefit from present day Panama and its canal, that canal the product of the Silver Men of Barbados, who built the structure and many of whom are still there in Panama, having fully integrated into that dynamic and cosmopolitan society.
But the coordinated exhibition of which I propose, will make existing opportunities in my view more visible and more viable, and will also create new chances for mutual collaboration.
Brazil today, like Panama, occupies an important and leading position in South America, and while unlike Panama it does not have a double tax treaty with Barbados, it nevertheless also shares that special historical nexus connected by early shared culture and labour.
Brazil’s economic ascendency offers scope for more intra-regional trade together with a gateway to South America’s largest trading bloc, MERCOSUR.
It has one of the largest reserves of natural resources in the world, it has continued to make its presence in the non-Hispanic Caribbean felt and to take it on as a high priority in its relations with CARICOM.
Furthermore, it is a leader in many areas. In the area of fruit processing techniques, Brazil now is a country in that fruit processing techniques. Brazil holds great scope for cooperation in the area of renewable energy and you know we pioneered with Israel in the solar water heating industry.
We never followed through, but the time is now. It also offers great scope for cooperation in the area of bio fuels and ethanol development, for it must never be forgotten that Brazil pioneered the development of sugarcane-based ethanol.
Its prominence in the creative and cultural industries is legendary as is its leadership in health care.
It represents a classic example of potential collaboration in health care or medical tourism with Barbados.
Present day Barbados, in spite of any economic recession, any financial downturn or otherwise, remains in my sincere and honest opinion a stable and strong jurisdiction with certain uncontestable comparative advantages to most jurisdictions.
Many such advantages make it encouraging for Barbados to be part of a triangular exhibition with Panama and Brazil.