Goal Five: Promoting Regional Integration and Cooperation

Between 2000 and 2013, there was no deviation from the traditional recognition that the future of Barbados lies within regional integration and cooperation enterprise.  For it provided a market for a substantial proportion of our domestic exports; offered space for Barbadian outward investment; constituted a vital source of benefits from functional cooperation and regional cultural identity and strengthened Barbados’ voice in the international community.  Barbados therefore intensified its strategic engagement with CARICOM by being a key participant in design, construction and operation of a stronger CARICOM. The Government of Barbados signed over 40 CARICOM agreements between 2000 and 2013.

The crafting of the objectives with respect to this goal was informed by an acceptance of the following:

  • Greater action and emphasis should be placed on the production side of integration.
  • A perception of a lack of political will in actualising the cherished goals of integration.
  • The level of participation of member states in community activities and deliberations needed to be improved.
  • The implementation of regional policies is difficult when they collide with the sovereignty of individual member states.
  • Inadequate financial resources and weak institutional and human capacity represented fundamental constraints.
  • Inadequate cross-border infrastructure – transportation, ICT and energy - and weak institutional and human capacity.
  • Limited regional security in the form of military capacity.
  • Necessity of equitably distributing the gains of integration and, where appropriate, moderating the expectations of the regional populace.
  • The need to remain fully engaged in the enterprise, guiding, in particular, its economic dimensions.
  • Much progress had been made, notwithstanding the acute challenges, in advancing the integration project.
  • It was necessary to continue to play a vital part in the region’s pursuit of increase cooperation.
  • The key place of CARICOM, as the region closest to us in geography, history and culture, in our foreign policy engagements.

 

Goal Six: Maintaining and Advancing Operational Capability

The effective management of formulation and implementation is an essential element of any foreign policy agenda.  The institutional architecture that is in place, in terms of resources and organisational systems and arrangements, has a very significant bearing on the realisation of the goals of foreign policy.  Barbados, between 2000 and 2008 possessed an institutional architecture characterised by limited resources and less than ideal organisational arrangements in terms of coordination between the foreign policy actors. 

The challenge has therefore been to strike the right balance between material limitations and the ambition to advance most pressing foreign policy priorities and to galvanise foreign policy stakeholders/actors to effective action.  This institutional imperative therefore influenced the extent and range of interventions with respect to the expansion of diplomatic reach, the increase of human resources and expenditure on the foreign service, and the scope of the foreign policy programme. Prioritisation was therefore very important for the Ministry given the expanding international agenda.