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CARICOM and Cuba mark 44th anniversary of diplomatic relations with ‘growing friendship’


Posted in: Press Releases | 08 December 2016 | 416

    Dom roosevelt-skerrit1
    Dom roosevelt-skerrit1

    Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of Dominica has hailed the ‘mutually beneficial relationship’ on the occasion of the 44th anniversary of CARICOM-Cuba diplomatic relations today, Thursday 8 December 2016.

    In a Statement to mark the occasion, Prime Minister Skerrit noted CARICOM’s steadfast advocacy for Cuba’s integration into the wider hemisphere, beginning with the historic step by the first four Member States in breaking the hemispheric isolation of Cuba to embrace it into their diplomatic fold back in 1972. 

    “CARICOM has long been an advocate for the normalisation of the relations between the United States and Cuba. While we welcome the progress in that regard, we reiterate the Community’s call for the full lifting of the economic, trade and financial embargo against that sister nation,” Mr. Skerrit said.

    CARICOM, he noted, has benefitted from the generous and meaningful technical assistance which Cuba renders to the Community, including in its most critical areas of need such as health and the provision of medical doctors and health care workers.  Cuba has also assisted in regional capacity building in the social and cultural fields, and in strengthening competencies in disaster management, agriculture and sport.

    Mr. Skerrit credits the CARICOM-Cuba triennial Summits, which began in 2002, with providing a  forum for deepening the ties that bind the two sides. The next Summit  is scheduled for next year in Antigua and Barbuda.

    The highlight of Thursday’s 44th anniversary was the  signing in Guyana,  of a Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of Guyana and Cuba and the CARICOM Secretariat, for the establishment of a “Regional Training Centre for Development and Stimulation of Children, Adolescents and Young People with Special Educational Needs Associated with Disabilities”.

    Cuba will provide support for the Training Centre, which will be based in Guyana, and will assist CARICOM Member States in improving the lives of this vulnerable sector of their population.

    CARICOM-Cuba day 2016 came on the heels of the 25 November passing of one of the architects of its observance, former Cuban President Fidel Castro.

    “The Caribbean Community will remember former President Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, OCC, as an outstanding friend and genuine partner who offered the expertise of his country to help develop independent countries across Latin America, the Caribbean as well as in Africa,” the CARICOM Chairman said.

     

    See full text of the Chairman’s Statement:

                  

     

    STATEMENT BY THE CHAIRMAN OF THE CONFERENCE OF HEADS OF GOVERNMENT OF THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY, HONOURABLE ROOSEVELT SKERRIT, PRIME MINISTER OF THE COMMONWEALTH OF DOMINICA ON THE OCCASION OF THE FORTY-FOURTH ANNIVERSARY OF CARICOM-CUBA DIPLOMATIC RELATIONS

     

    8 DECEMBER 2016

     

     

    It is my distinct honour, in my capacity as Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), to mark the occasion of the Forty-Fourth Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Member States of the Caribbean Community and Cuba. 

    The friendship between CARICOM and the Republic of Cuba has grown stronger as we have built a mutually beneficial relationship over the past 44 years.  As developing countries, we face similar challenges in our attempt to improve the lives of our people. This has ensured that that we have worked together to identify areas where we can assist each other in our development efforts.

    Ever since that historic day when four of our Member States embraced Cuba into their diplomatic fold, CARICOM has been steadfast in its advocacy for Cuba to be integrated into the wider hemisphere of which it is so integrally a part. Our triennial Summits which began in 2002 has served to strengthen the solidarity between the Community and Cuba as they provide a forum for deepening the ties that bind us. I look forward to the sixth Summit which is scheduled for next year in Antigua and Barbuda.

    The results of those discussions have seen an intensification of the generous and meaningful technical assistance which Cuba renders to the Community. CARICOM has benefitted in its most critical areas of need, most importantly in the field of health, in the provision and training of both medical doctors and health care workers. Assistance has also been forthcoming to build regional capacity in the social and cultural fields, and to strengthen competencies in disaster management, agriculture and sport.

    The signing in Georgetown, Guyana, on CARICOM-Cuba Day, of a Memorandum of Understanding between the governments of Guyana and Cuba and the CARICOM Secretariat, in relation to the “Regional Training Centre for Development and Stimulation of Children, Adolescents and Young People with Special Educational Needs Associated with Disabilities” is another gesture of solidarity and fraternity which is profoundly appreciated by the Community.

    This very substantial level of assistance has been provided despite the deleterious effects on Cuba of the economic, trade and financial embargo imposed by the United States against our sister Caribbean country. CARICOM has long been an advocate for the normalisation of the relations between the United States and Cuba. While we welcome the progress in that regard, we reiterate the Community’s call for the full lifting of the economic, trade and financial embargo against that sister nation. 

    On 25 November of this year, the Republic of Cuba and the world as a whole lost an icon, a great revolutionary leader who has led his country for half of a century.  The Caribbean Community will remember former President Fidel Alejandro Castro Ruz, OCC, as an outstanding friend and genuine partner who offered the expertise of his country to help develop independent countries across Latin America, the Caribbean as well as in Africa.  In that regard, I would like on behalf of CARICOM to express once again, our heartfelt solidarity and sympathy with the Cuban people and Government at his loss.  His memory lives on in our mission to provide for our people and to build a world in which fairness and peace prevail.

    The Caribbean Community is confident that our relations with Cuba will continue to flourish in the years ahead, and as I extend our best wishes for the well-being and prosperity of the Government and People of Cuba, I take this opportunity to reiterate the Community’s commitment to the further strengthening and enhancement of the close bonds of friendship, cooperation and solidarity which unite us.

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