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Date: 01 Feb, 2012
Source: Invest Barbados

Preparations for the second biennial diaspora conference, officially known as the Barbados Network Consultation 2012, are fully on stream and gathering momentum.

Barbadians and Barbadian descendents residing in Canada and the United States as well as Cuba, Venezuela and Brazil got an opportunity to exchange ideas and suggestions with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Maxine McClean, via video and tele-conference on Monday, January 23rd, 2012. Following this the focus shifted across the Atlantic on Tuesday, January 24th, with Barbadians and Barbadian descendents residing in the United Kingdom and Europe having the opportunity to engage Minister McClean on the conference.

The use of modern communications technology in the offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, afforded participants residing in such places as Ottawa, Toronto, Boston, New Jersey, New York, Washington D.C, Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Central Florida, Atlanta, Houston, California, Havana, Caracas, Brasilia, London, Geneva and Brussels, the opportunity to help shape the conference programme by providing suggestions on critical topics for discussions, the format for the sessions, final deliverables and possible educational, community and social activities.

Minister McClean stated that her interface with the Barbadian Diaspora is a critical aspect of Barbados’ preparation for the Barbados Network Consultation 2012.

She assured the diaspora that every attempt would be made to incorporate their recommendations into the conference programme to ensure that the BNC 2012 is informative, interesting and beneficial to the participants. Minister McClean also stated that she anticipated a conference that would provide the “market space” to create maximum opportunity for interaction between participants, together with hands-on workshops featuring fresh and dynamic presentations and one which serves as a spring board for an effective network in the service of Barbados’ development.

Plans are proceeding apace with the Planning Committee for the conference, chaired by Minister McClean, having met in early January as well as some of the working groups charged with looking at various aspects of the conference. These working groups comprise members of “Team Barbados” including representatives of the Barbados Tourism Authority, Invest Barbados, the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation, private sector representatives as well as staff of several Ministries and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to name a few.

Online registration for the conference is expected to be launched within the coming weeks and conference planners are exploring the possibility of special airline and hotel packages for participants.

Barbados’ overseas Missions, in conjunction with the various Barbadian organizations, continue to play a crucial role in generating ideas and in getting the word out to the Barbadian communities and Minister McClean has commended them for their enthusiastic response and urged that they use every means at their disposal to help us make this conference a success.

The conference will be held at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre from August 2nd to August 10th. It is expected to attract approximately 1,000 participants.

For further details, be sure to contact the mission near you.