May 2nd, 2008
On Sunday May 4th, Jamaica Prime Minister Bruce Golding, will make a landmark visit to Cuba, signaling to the world, that the peoples and governments of the Caribbean are proclaiming their adulthood, they are willing to act accordingly and they are confirming a long held axiom, that blood is thicker than water.
This visit should serve to revive and strengthen the long historic bonds that have existed between Cuba and all neighboring islands, despite a rabid and divisive effort to the contrary, by those who despise us.
Tens of thousands of Jamaican emigrants during the past century, played a pivotal role in the development of Cuba's sugar industry, generously contributing billions of hours in infra-human working conditions , shedding their tears, blood or paying the ultimate price, in the transformation of the economy and physiognomy of Cuba.
After the triumph of the Revolution, a serious attempt was made by the government to level the racial playing field, which made it possible for thousands of their descendents to achieve and excel in every field of technical and professional field, helping Cuba to earn its well deserved humanitarian reputation across the globe.
Irrespective of any political, social, religious or sexual differences with the policies of Cuba, it is there, where the basis for the development of the people of our region and beyond, is available to to everyone, making its moral and material support, an imperative of everyone concerned with the future and well being of our children.
Finally, a serious concern with food security, threat of famine, social unrest and a looming human disaster over the horizon suggests, that we take a a hard look at our past life experiences.
Cuba has the largest agricultural land mass in the area with a substantial underutilized portion, while in other neighboring islands, thousands of people wander hopelessly without an inch of land to feed their children. It is time for us to overcome some vestiges of colonial legacies of artificially drawing boundaries, dividing people and instilling animosities under false pretexts of nationhood.
If thousands of emigrants from most of the Caribbean islands were able to live, create a family and work in Cuba during the twentieth century, contributing their culture, history and language, while pouring riches into native sugar barons and transnational bulging coffer, why cant we work out a humane, respectful guest workers agreement, through which, thousands can earn a decent living, support their families while securing a food reserve for millions and bringing us much closer together.
It is not difficult to imagine the incredible courage and conviction that Prime Minister Golding had to muster, to confront an array of hurdles, innuendo and threats, for daring to travel to an island, some have tried to quarantine, in a fail effort to quell the spread of its transmissible values.
Thousands of Jamaican emigrants and descendants living in Cuba, welcome you home and wish to thank you, for your willingness to create a better future for all.