Earlier in the year and in reference to China and the Caribbean relationship, President Xi Jinping had dubbed 2016 the China-Latin America and the Caribbean Year of Cultural Exchange with the goal of promoting greater understanding among the people of China, the Caribbean and Latin America.
To implement this intention, Beijing recently hosted the Latin America and Caribbean Music, Film and Art Exhibition Series organized in collaboration with the Ministry of Culture and the Embassies of the Bahamas, Jamaica, Grenada, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Guyana and Suriname.
This year also bears witness to China’s presidency of the G20 Heads of State Summit slated to take place between September 4 and 5 in the country’s eastern province of Zhejiang’s capital city, Hangzhou.
Recent media reports highlight that China is dedicated to bolstering economic growth through its steadfast commitment to multilateralism. In keeping with this mandate, China has not only been working closely with the Global North, but has become a reliable development partner for many countries of the Global South.
In recent years, Chinese investors have become more aware of the market potential in the Caribbean Basin.
Companies like China Harbour Engineering Company, Jiuquan Iron and Steel Group Company Ltd. (JISCO) and SINOPEC are among some of the top investors in the Caribbean. What the region needs now, are airline companies that are willing to invest in direct routes from major cities in China to key Caribbean capitals like Kingston, Nassau, Havana, St. George’s, Bridgetown, Port of Spain, Georgetown and Paramaribo.
Several Caribbean governments recognize the importance of the tourism sector for many of our islands. As such Chinese nationals can travel to Jamaica, the Bahamas and Grenada without a visa for the first 30 days. These governments have indicated their willingness to work with Chinese investors and the relevant industry leaders to make the Caribbean a destination of choice.
In Jamaica for instance, it’s always the latest delight to dine at Usain Bolt’s Restaurant called Tracks and Records or plan a visit to the Bob Marley Museum - the birthplace of Reggae. Then visitors may hop over to the Bahamas’ magical kingdom of Atlantis; go scuba diving or swim with the dolphins in the pristine aqua marine waters that are particularly characteristic of the Bahamas.
credit: Guangming Daily/Guo Hongson