Access Barbados Festival building on success
High Commissioner, His Excellency Mr. Edward Evelyn Greaves told a Montreal audience that part of his mandate is to build new synergies and strengthen Barbados’ relationship with Canadian officials and the wider community in order to promote, encourage and assist with the growth and development of trade, industry, tourism and culture between Canada and Barbados.
Culture, Heritage and Business key to success
As the mercury soared on August 23rd, 2008, the Access Barbados Festival sizzled under the sun in the Van Horne Park with a real Caribbean feel of togetherness. By the end of the day, the estimated four thousand plus people who attended the festival left the park fully content with the overall presentation.
Though slowed by a late start the festival unfolded under the blistering sun with a call from the City Councilor of the Cote-des-Neiges Borough Mr. Marvin Rotrand, who represented the City of Montreal reminding spectators to continually strive for unity as a community and as a people. He was pleased to see how the Caribbean communities have assimilated into Quebec society and yet maintained their culture and heritage, calling them ‘hallmarks of the Caribbean’.
The countries of the OECS States representative First Secretary Ms. Anita Joseph spoke briefly of the unification of the Caribbean communities’ cultural and economic development through diversity and cooperation.
Key-note speaker, Barbados High Commissioner His Excellency Mr. Edward Evelyn Greaves in his first official speech in Canada, spoke of the long standing relationship of trade between Canada and Barbados dating back some One Hundred years and the Fifty year presence of the Barbados Tourism Authority in Canada.
The High Commissioner said the new government of Barbados has committed itself to paying particular attention to the Barbadian Diaspora in Canada and is developing a number of new approaches to ensure that Barbadians living abroad are not only kept in touch with what is happening in Barbados but will also be provided with more opportunities to play a role in the development of the country.
In recent years, poor price competitiveness in travel from Canada has resulted in a significant decline in travel from all regions of Canada to Barbados, causing uncertainty among consumers and slow economic growth in the tourism market. On this matter, the high commissioner said. “One of the issues that concerns Barbadians living in Canada is the high cost of travel to Barbados. I should point out that this problem has been partially met by the permission which was recently granted to WestJet, a Canadian Airline in Calgary, to fly into Barbados beginning in November this year. It is my understanding that the fares will be very competitive with what obtains at the present.”
This is a significant move since the fastest growing travel industry sector today is young travelers between 16 and 24 years, adventurous young adults looking to widen their experiences across the globe.
Referring to bilateral trade relations between Barbados and Canada the high commissioner said. “The initial partnership gave rise to the export of Barbados ‘Liquid Goal‘ our prized Barbados Rum to Canada’s shores.” Over the years, the role of the trade commission has been taken over by more sophisticated arrangement for trade facilitation. Furthermore, while contributing to the development of the Barbados economy, Canadian multinationals have grown exponentially by taking advantage of the stability of our democracy, improved infrastructure and strong investment potential for over a century.
As the range of Canadian businesses investing in Barbados expand, so too have the provision and environment to facilitate increased business opportunities. In recognition of the symbolic relationship enjoyed by Barbados and Canada, and the increasing contribution Barbados plays to the development of Canada’s offshore banking structure. The high commissioner referred to comments made by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, while visiting Barbados in July 2007. Prime Minister Harper committed his government to strengthening Canada’s political and economic engagement in the Caribbean region, and urged international business and government leaders to harness the strong bilateral ties between both countries with a view to expanding opportunities for future development.
He went on to talk about the contribution made by Canadian companies to the Barbados economy as highlighted by the Prime Minister of Barbados the Honorable David Thompson during a visit to Toronto. He said the Prime Minister highlighted how impactful the establishment of Canada’s Trade Commission to Barbados was as a turning point for enhance bilateral partnerships, which eventually facilitated the establishment and growth of several Canadian financial institutions in Barbados.
Today, Canadian companies with headquarters in Barbados are channeling their global investments in other foreign countries resulting in successful competitive new markets. Driving new revenues for the Canadian economy
Barbados High Commissioner to Canada lauds efforts of Access Barbados
The High Commissioner said that through the efforts of the Barbados and Canadian governments, the corporate community and other stakeholders, including Access Barbados much work has been done in assisting prospective investors to gain greater access to expand in the Barbados market.
Access Barbados branded its festival concept to include government agencies, community organizations and businesses, showing an appreciation for the value of trade, tourism and transportation, health services, culture, heritage and interactive events where viewing participants could indulge in the broader Caribbean hospitality, mouth watering dishes and the Caribbean people way of life.
The Access Barbados festival has evolved to a point where goods and services are an integral part of the event; now seen as an opportunity for businesses to market their products to thousands of viewers and potential buyers in the region driving business investment to Barbados. The tendency is also to encourage a surge in business strategy and economic trust for the tourism sector.
The potential for a positive Caribbean trade exhibition in Montreal is eminent, even if there are a small number of islands participating. Culture, heritage and business are the keys to success. Access Barbados recognizes the advantages of this mixture, one which would create a thriving and diverse festival. In all likelihood, it is hopeful that for 2009 the City of Montreal would play a more significant role, by assisting with securing an enclosed venue and the sponsorship of a full blown exhibition.
Every great festival is measured by the quality and the variety of its Arts and Culture, the diversity of the culinary tastes of dishes served and the participation of the community.
Arts and crafts were well received, while a variety of Barbadian and other Caribbean products (namely Grace) took centre stage attracting curious onlookers and visitors.
The youth were not to be left out, artists such as Kirilina, Ryan Scott and rising rap singer Terry gave a good account of themselves.
The thousand who flocked to the venue also got the opportunity to see and hear performances from Reeno Byer in grand style, Pufty, Handy Andy and The Bajan connection band.
After fifteen years of travel to Europe and Africa, R&B singer Prince returned with a bang, thrilling the audience with his golden soulful voice.
There was no raining on Access Barbados, just misfortune. The attendance was way below expectations, but the participation by vendors, community organizations, Health and Social Services, the MUC police services, arts and crafts vendors and the entertainers resulted in a successful festival.
Access Barbados Press. [email protected] September 22, 2008
By Glenroy Valantine
September 22nd, 2008