STATEMENT BY H.E. EDWIN CARRINGTON, SECRETARY-GENERAL OF THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY (CARICOM), ON THE OCCASION OF THE PRESENTATION OF CREDENTIALS OF H.E. ALEJANDRO MARCHANTE CASTELLANOS, AMBASSADOR EXTRAORDINARY AND PLENIPOTENTIARY OF THE REPUBLIC OF CUBA, TO THE CARIBBEAN COMMUNITY (DESIGNATE), March 10, 2006.
Posted in: Statements from CARICOM Meetings by admin | 10 March 2006 | Release Ref #: 52/2006 | 1542
Assistant Secretary-General of the Caribbean Community;
Representatives of the Embassy of Cuba;
Other Staff of the CARICOM Secretariat;
Members of the Media;
Ladies and Gentlemen;
Today I am deeply honoured to welcome His Excellency Ambassador Marchante to the headquarters of the Caribbean Community and to receive his Credentials accrediting him as Cuba’s Plenipotentiary Representative to the Caribbean Community.
Just over three months ago, on 8 December 2005, our countries met at the highest level in Barbados, to reaffirm the kindred relationship between the Republic of Cuba and the countries that constitute the Caribbean Community (CARICOM).
On that day, not only did our countries celebrate the 33rd anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the first four independent CARICOM countries and the Government of Cuba, but they also strengthened their ties with the signing of the Declaration of Bridgetown and a CARICOM/Cuba Cultural Co-operation Agreement.
The outcomes of the meeting marking the second CARICOM/Cuba Summit initiated in 2002 and scheduled to be held triennially once again demonstrated that the countries of the Caribbean Community and the Republic of Cuba are all integral members of the Caribbean family.
The CARICOM-Cuba fraternal relationship is not a mere diplomatic festival of words, nor is it a simple declaration of intentions, or an empty well-meaning gesture of goodwill. The countries of the Region and Cuba enjoy a shared Caribbean identity that enriches and strengthens our common regional interests. It also serves to enhance our coordination and promotion of South-South Cooperation and the pursuit and protection of our common interests in various international fora and organisations.
I stress that ours is a celebration of the tangible cooperation that bold diplomacy and true fraternity facilitate - and the peoples of both Cuba and the Caribbean Community can attest to this.
And yet, none of these relationships can match the significance of CARICOM-Cuba Bilateral Cooperation. None other has had an equal impact on the standard of living of the ordinary peoples of both sides. Through this bilateral cooperation - students have become professionals and positive contributors to the Region’s development; businessmen have extended their markets; artists have been given greater exposure; sportsmen have successfully met new challenges; the visually impaired have been made to see; the sick including those infected with the HIV/AIDS virus have been deriving enhanced care and treatment. Overall, our people have come to know each other better.
Our relations with Cuba are not limited to the political and social - they also span the economic. In July 2000, the Caribbean Community and Cuba entered into a Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement. Cuba is now an active participant in the on-going work of the Caribbean Regional Negotiating Machinery (CRNM) and Cuba works in concert with the Region in negotiations at the World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Excellency, Ladies and Gentlemen, thanks to the bold action of four youthful independent CARICOM Countries in 1972 and to the response of Cuba to their initiative, our Region has become stronger and more integrated.
Thanks also to that historical démarche we today welcome you Excellency as Plenipotentiary Representative of the Republic of Cuba to the Caribbean Community. It is an event that is once again greatly welcomed by us all and one that is certain to continue to enhance and deepen the great relationship which already exists between our countries. It is therefore my privilege and honour on behalf of the Caribbean Community to welcome you as a Member of the Caribbean family and to extend to the Republic of Cuba, our best wishes and continuing commitment of friendship and fraternity.
I thank you.