Goal Three: Maintaining and Elevating the Image and Profile of Barbados in the International Arena

The way a country is perceived by the international community is considerably influenced by the image it projects.  Between 2000 and 2013, countries that upheld the basic principles of freedom, human rights, rule of law, peaceful settlement of disputes and conflicts, good governance and multilateralism; that made a valuable contribution to the peace of the world; that fulfilled their international responsibilities commensurate with their means; and that maintained political and social stability and good relations with all countries have been invested with a positive image.

The attachment of a good image to a country, particularly of the developing group, constituted a “bankable” asset in the international community and enhanced its ability to expand and strengthen its bilateral and multilateral relationships with other members of the global community in a mutually beneficial and more accommodating manner.

Image therefore played an important role in international relations.  Barbados’ economic fortunes, between 2000 and 2013, were heavily reliant on tourists, foreign investors and foreign financial assistance. Consequently, it needed to maintain a very positive image and profile in the global space - the source of its tourists, investors and finance.

The boundaries of what was considered acceptable behaviour in most of the world between 2000 and 2013 were defined by a consensus on the principal elements of a shared morality – democracy, the rule of law, respect for human rights, the peaceful settlement of interstate differences, religious and cultural tolerance, good governance and stable political behaviour.

Barbados therefore considered it essential to project a principles and rules based foreign policy onto the global stage as a means of enhancing the attraction of its business offerings; generally getting support for its interests while at the same time encouraging reformed behaviour from states with weak brand images. Supporting the sponsorship and pursuit of these moral attributes by the international community; participating in the global conversations and debates on moral issues and the building and deepening of cultural relations were identified as the means of projecting Barbados’ image abroad.

Barbados adopted the position between 2000 and 2013 that it would contribute to the maintenance of international peace and security in representing and supporting rules, values and principles which promoted respect for the rule of law and human rights and good governance. It also sought to bring to the global table the moderate and balanced views of a small developing state with a firmly established tradition of parliamentary democracy, good governance, respect for human rights and the rule of law.

Barbados therefore considered it essential to actively and consistently engage in substantive dialogue and consultations on critical social and political issues facing the hemisphere and, indeed, the world.  Through such dialogue Barbados hoped to help maintain its reputation and build partnerships that guaranteed its social, economic, political and cultural progress in a dynamic international environment. Barbados also sought to assume membership of a number of multilateral groupings that were emerging in Latin America and elsewhere. Barbados was also determined to defend its good reputation whenever it was challenged.

The understandings were:

  • It was necessary for Barbados to develop and sustain relationships with foreign governments and organizations so that it could exert influence on them to accommodate its interests in the decisions they take.
  • Multilateralism is in the best interest of small states that generally do not have significant negotiating power when dealing with larger countries.
  • The necessity of projecting Barbados as a stable country with strong respect for the rule of law and good governance institutions. the reform and renewal of the global governance architecture should be supported