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Remarks by Ambassador Wang Ke at the Groundbreaking Ceremony of Barbados Sam Lord's Castle Hotel Project
November 23, 2015

The Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart, Prime Minister,

The Hon. Richard Sealy, Minister of Tourism and International Transport,

The Hon. Adriel Brathwaite, Attorney General and Minister of Home Affairs,

The Hon. Steven Blackett, Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment and Community Development,

The Hon. Michael Lashley, Minister of Transport and Works,

Senator the Hon. Irene Sandiford-Garner, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Tourism and International Transport,

Mr. Stuart Layne, CEO of Barbados Tourism Investment Inc.,

Mr. Liu Xueyi, Chairman of China National Complete Plant Import and Export Corp.,

Representatives from Chinese enterprises, Chinese Association and Confucius Institute in Barbados,

Specially invited guests,

Friends from Media,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A very good morning.

It is a great pleasure of mine to attend the groundbreaking ceremony of the redevelopment project of Sam Lord’s Castle Hotel today. On behalf of the Chinese government and in my own name, I wish to express my heartfelt congratulations. Three days ago, I was privileged to witness the signing of Preferential Export Buyer’s Credit Loan Agreement made by China Export-Import Bank (EXIM Bank) and the Government of Barbados represented by Prime Minister Stuart. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my deep gratitude to Right Honourable Prime Minister Freundel Stuart for his gracious presence despite his busy schedule, which shows the full support from the Barbados government and Prime Minister himself to the redevelopment project as well as China-Barbados practical cooperation.

During the visit to Trinidad and Tobago in June 2013, China’s President Xi Jinping announced to offer US$1.5 billion preferential loans to the friendly countries in the Caribbean. When President Xi met with Prime Minister Stuart, they agreed that the two countries should negotiate mutually-beneficial cooperation such as large-scale infrastructure projects funded by China’s preferential loans. As the very first large-scale tourism infrastructure in Barbados constructed by Chinese enterprise and funded by China EXIM Bank’s US$ 170 million preferential loan, the redevelopment project of Sam Lord’s Castle Hotel is to translate the strategic goals reached by the two leaders into tangible actions, which establishes a milestone and writes a new chapter in China-Barbados friendly cooperation for mutual benefit, making China the only country that offers large-scale preferential loans to finance infrastructure projects in Barbados. I believe that the future operation of the Hotel will play a positive role in increasing employment and foreign exchange income of Barbados, booming Barbados’ national economy and further enhancing the competitiveness of Barbados as a high-end destination for vacation.

Barbados ranks one of the most important countries in the Caribbean. Chinese Government always attaches importance to China-Barbados relations, which has enjoyed a healthy and smooth development since we established diplomatic ties 38 years ago. Taking economic cooperation as a propeller in our bilateral relations, China has offered 22 grants to Barbados, among the projects, the Garfield Sobers Gymnasium and Cheapside Market not only serve the benefit of local Barbadians but also become a symbol of our two peoples’ friendship.

In recent years, the economic cooperation between China and Barbados continuously makes new achievements. To name a few, China will soon carry out renovation and set up a photovoltaic system for the Gymnasium and make feasibility studies of providing grants to the projects of Hope Agriculture Training Institute and UWI Centre for Food Security and Entrepreneurship in Barbados. In addition, we have held three bilateral seminars in China on Economic and Trade, Agricultural Technology and Agro-processing, Tourist Management and Development for Barbados. It is also worth mentioning that, besides Sam Lord’s Castle Hotel, China and Barbados are negotiating other major projects to be funded by China’s preferential loans, such as the reconstruction and expansion of Grantley Adams International Airport and Pierhead Marina project in Bridgetown. We have every reason to expect a promising future of China-Barbados cooperation for mutual benefit.

The redevelopment of Sam Lord’s Castle Hotel will be carried out by the large state-owned enterprise China National Complete Plant Import and Export Corp. (COMPLANT), which has completed over 1300 major projects in more than 100 countries including hotels and resorts in Trinidad and Tobago and Antigua and Barbuda in the Caribbean. Barbados Tourism Investment Inc. (BTI) is a vey much experienced professional agency. The comparative advantages of the two enterprises can be complementary, and their cooperation is worth looking forward to. It is my sincere hope that the two enterprises will keep coordination on a friendly basis, bear quality in mind, push forward and complete the construction as scheduled so as to set up an exquisite model for China-Barbados win-win practical cooperation and further collaborations, which will bring China-Barbados economic cooperation to new heights and greater benefits to our two countries and peoples.

Once again, I would like to express my congratulations on the groundbreaking of Sam Lord’s Castle Hotel, and wish the construction every success.

Thank you very much.

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