NASSAU, The Bahamas — The signing of the agreement between the People’s Republic of China and The Bahamas for the assistance in the construction of a national stadium embodies a “continuation of the friendship” between the two countries, which is growing stronger through the years, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Brent Symonette said, Monday, December 15, 2008.


“The Bahamas and the People’s Republic of China has had diplomatic relationships for some years now,” Minister Symonette said during the contract signing at his Ministry. 


“We are very fortunate that the government of the People’s Republic of China very kindly allowed us to upgrade the (Bahamas) office to an embassy status, where were we have an ambassador now who is working very well with the persons applying for visas and travel documents.”


Minister Symonette said that the ambassador is also working with the work permits for the Chinese who are coming to The Bahamas to aid in the construction of the sports stadium.


Minister Symonette added that the grant facilitated by the signing that day was in the region of some $7.3 million and will go towards the National Stadium project, which he expects to commence in early 2009 and the Government of The Bahamas is “grateful” for the grant.


“It is a very important day for us today because it does show we are developing further friendly relations and we are intending to have the mutual goal of being able to build a stadium here in the capital city of our Bahamas,” Minister Symonette said.


He said that The Bahamas has been “very fortunate” over the last two months to have had several delegations from the central Chinese Government and the Shanghai regional government visit The Bahamas to talk about further developments in the country.


“As we look forward in 2009, we hope to look forward to more talks with the various agencies in China, with regards to the development of The Bahamas,” he said.


The Bahamas has also signed on to be an exhibitor at the 2010 Shanghai Expo, which, Minister Symonette added, will be a “great showcase” for The Bahamas and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nations, allowing those countries to display their assets to China.


As far as tourism in concerned, Minister Symonette pointed out that Minister of Tourism the Hon. Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace recently visited the People’s Republic of China to investigate the expansion of the two countries’ tourism relationship.


“We hope to see that growing in the near future,” Minister Symonette said.



PHOTO: Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affair the Hon. Brent Symonette (right) and His Excellency Hu Dingxian, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Peoples Republic of China shake hands after the signing of an agreement for assistance in the construction of a National Stadium in The Bahamas, on December 15, 2008.  (BIS Photo / Kristaan A. Ingraham)