Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Hon. Darren Henfield, attended a ceremony commemorating the opening of the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival). The event was held at the British Colonial Hilton on February 8.
Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to The Bahamas, His Excellency Huang Qinguo and his wife Madame Zheng Chuncao hosted the event. Also in attendance were: the Governor General, Cabinet Ministers, Members of the Judiciary, Senior Public Service officials and Members of the Chinese community in the Bahamas.
Minister Henfield was honoured to attend the celebration saying: “The Spring Festival is a very important celebration on the Chinese calendar and is traditionally marked by happy gatherings, close family interactions, vibrant parades and colourful celebrations among Chinese communities all over the world. Here in The Bahamas, it is no different.
“I wish you, Ambassador, and the entire Chinese Community in The Bahamas a wonderful evening and all the best for this coming Chinese New Year.”
Last year, The Bahamas and China commemorated a significant milestone, as both countries celebrated the 20th Anniversary of the establishment of Diplomatic Relations.
“Since 1997, the Government of the People’s Republic of China has made invaluable contributions to the development of The Bahamas,” said Mr. Henfield. “We have continued to enjoy a harmonious friendship deepened by co-operation in areas such as tourism, health care, financial services, trade, agriculture and education.”
He said that the Government of The Bahamas ‘appreciates and welcomes’ China’s continued support with respect to mutually supported candidacies, cultural exchanges, cross-training, visa-free travel, and business investments. And also looks forward to the finalization of the Civil Air Services Agreement, which will further help to stimulate economic growth.
“Excellency, the appointment of His Excellency Sterling Quant as The Bahamas Ambassador to China in December past reaffirmed our commitment to the cordial relations between The Bahamas and China. Just this past Monday, The Bahamas Embassy in Beijing hosted a Sino-Bahamas Financial Co-operation Seminar, where some 23 senior banking officials were in attendance. Exchanges of this nature help to deepen and solidify our mutually beneficial relationship,” said Mr. Henfield.
The Minister also took the opportunity to thank Counsellor Wang Qingjun, in his absence, for his contributions, and to welcome the new Counsellor, Mr Yin Haigang.
“Excellency, Each year, scores of Bahamians benefit from educational and technical opportunities offered by your Government,” he said. “These scholarship opportunities expose our citizens to your unique culture and equip them with the necessary skills to contribute positively to the national development of The Bahamas upon their return. I thank you for such opportunities which continue to bring our two countries closer.”
He reiterated the commitment of the Government of The Bahamas to strengthening and promoting Sino-Bahamian relations through on-going direct dialogue between the nations and peoples.
This article was written by BETTY VEDRINE, Bahamas Information Services