MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines formally established diplomatic relations this week with the Caribbean island-state of Barbados, following ceremonies held in New York.
A Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations between the Republic of the Philippines and Barbados was signed last June 22, the Department of Foreign Affairs said Thursday.
Ambassador Hilario Davide Jr., RP permanent representative to the United Nations, and his Barbados counterpart Ambassador Christopher Fitzherbert Hackett, signed the document, the DFA said on its website (www.dfa.gov.ph), citing a report from the Philippine Mission to the UN.
Barbados is the easternmost island-state in the Caribbean with a total land area of 430 square kilometers and a population of 282,000. Its closest neighbors are Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Saint Lucia.
The island state made local headlines recently with the approval by the Commission on Election of the bid of the Smartmatic – Total Information Network consortium to supply poll automation machines for the Philippines’ national and local elections in May 2010.
According to the consortium’s spokesman, Smartmatic’s holding company is based in the Netherlands and also owns a company in Barbados.
Due to the absence of diplomatic relations between the Philippines and Barbados, the authentication documents of Smartmatic — which are being questioned in a Senate inquiry — were done at the Philippine Embassy in Washington D.C.
Barbados will be under the jurisdiction of the Philippine Embassy in Caracas, Venezuela, under Ambassador Jocelyn Batoon Garcia, the DFA said.
Witnessing the signing ceremony were Deputy Permanent Representative Leslie Gatan, Consul General Cecilia Rebong and other officials from the Philippine Mission.
The Philippine Mission said the Barbados government proposed the establishment of diplomatic relations with the Philippines in 2008, coursing it through the Philippine Embassy in Caracas.
A member of the Caribbean Community, Barbados was a British colony for more than three centuries before it was granted independence in 1966.
In the human development index, Barbados is among the top 75 countries in the world. In 2006, it ranked 31st in the world, and third in the Americas, behind Canada and the United States, said the DFA. - GMANews.TV