The Ambassador of Cuba in Barbados, Sergio Jorge Pastrana, was received by the Minister of the Environment and National Beautification, the Honorable Adrian Forde, Member of Parliament, accompanied by a group of his collaborators. Minister Forde accesses this portfolio after the reorganization of the Barbadian ministerial cabinet last August. Being one of the youngest Barbadian ministers, Forde is a political member of Parliament with a career as a chemist and a prominent job in the Ministry of Youth and Community Development, a portfolio he held from May 2018 to August 2020 .
Present were the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry, Ms. Daphne Kellman, the Senior Environmental Officer, Mr. Travis Sinckler, the Chief Administrative Officer, Ms. Paula Jackman, the Head of Multilateral Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, Ms. Jane Brathwaite, and the Chief Legal Officer for the Ministry, Ms. Nicole Scholar-Tasker.
At the meeting, Minister Forde took the opportunity to congratulate Cuba for its prompt readiness and success, both nationally and internationally, in confronting the COVID-19 pandemic. He was interested in knowing the statistics of the hygienic-epidemiological situation in Cuba, the measures adopted and the remarkable deployment of medical personnel, in the Caribbean and around the world to act in the front row of the confrontation with the virus and in particular he wanted to thank Cuba on behalf of the government and people of Barbados for the service provided in the country by the contingent of nurses from the Henry Reeve Medical Brigade, which has contributed decisively to the success in containing the pandemic in the island country.
The main topic discussed at the meeting was the next celebration of the Forum of Ministers of the Environment of Latin America and the Caribbean, scheduled to be held on January 17 and 18, 2021, virtually, under the Presidency of Barbados, topic in which Cuba and Barbados, as two Small Island Developing States, maintain a collaboration of many years, as long as the criteria that they generally face for the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals coincide.
Likewise, the Minister and his team reviewed with the Ambassador the entire set of interests of bilateral cooperation, among which those related to the protection of biodiversity, the challenges due to Climate Change, afforestation, disasters mitigation and Botanical Gardens stand out.
Ambassador Pastrana took the opportunity to recognize the excellent work done by Barbados in the face of the threat of extreme weather events, which are increasingly frequent due to the effects of Climate Change, as well as the efforts to contain the incidence of the COVID-19 pandemic, which show excellent results so far, due to steps taking by the Barbadian government, among which are the excellent working and living conditions offered to Cuban collaborators.
The Minister and the Ambassador, who maintain a working relationship since the previous role of Minister Forde in the Portfolio of Youth and Community Development, agreed to maintain fluid information channels to follow up on the aforementioned issues of common interest.