Tuesday, December 12, 2006

CARICOM praises Cuba for generous assistance, wishes Fidel Castro recovery


St. Kitts and Nevis Government, Office of the Prime Minister

BASSETERRE, ST. KITTS, DECEMBER 12TH 2006 (CUOPM) – The Caribbean Community in celebrating the fraternal links with the Government and People of the Republic of Cuba has expressed its appreciation of the solidarity which has characterised their relations as well as the technical and other forms of assistance that Cuba has consistently provided to its people, particularly to the young people of the Region, as they seek to develop their professional skills and contribute to the building of their nations and, collectively, the Community.

“Today, there are almost 3,000 CARICOM students studying in Cuba, a large number of them beneficiaries of scholarships from the Cuban Government. Their studies in the disciplines of medicine, engineering, telecommunications, architecture, computer science, and geology, among others, will have a tremendous positive impact in their home territories and the CARICOM region,” said Chairman of the Caribbean Community and Prime Minister of the Federation of St. Kitts and Nevis, Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas.

In a message to mark the 34th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Cuba and Members of the Caribbean Community, Prime Minister Douglas said the region “recognise and acknowledge Cuba's generous assistance, particularly in the field of health in which that country excels.”

“You have built hospitals, provided medicines, laboratory support facilities, doctors, nurses and other health care professionals, as well as eye care and other types of treatment in Cuba and in the Region for CARICOM Nationals,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who added that “Cuba has also played a pre-eminent role in the popularisation and preservation of Caribbean culture in particular the performing arts and it continues to be involved in our regional cultural festival, CARIFESTA.”

The St. Kitts and Nevis leader and current holder of the CARICOM chairmanship said the Caribbean Community is confident that its relations with Cuba will continue to flourish through trade, cultural and sporting exchanges, and the many other forms of interaction and collaboration that now constitute and reinforce the ties that bind Cuba and the region.

“The Community will also continue its representation to have Cuba reintegrated into the Councils of the Hemisphere of which it is geographically a part. Our common aspirations and shared challenges as people of the Caribbean demand no less,” said Prime Minister Douglas, who used the opportunity on behalf of the CARICOM ‘to assure the people of Cuba of our individual and collective wishes for the well-being and recovery of His Excellency President Fidel Castro Ruz.”

In 1972, four independent CARICOM countries - Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago - in a bold act of diplomacy and of strong commitment to the concept of the “oneness” of the Caribbean, established diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cuba.

Since then, the CARICOM-Cuba relationship has been one of solidarity and fraternity. Over the years it has become stronger and has deepened and now includes cooperation in the political, economic and social domains.

In 2005, Heads of Government and of State of CARICOM and the Republic of Cuba met in Barbados to reaffirm their friendship and reaffirm their mutual commitment and strengthened ties with the signing of “the Declaration of Bridgetown” and of a CARICOM-Cuba Cultural Co-operation Agreement, another major development since the first CARICOM-Cuba Summit in 2002.

Photo: Cuban President His EXcellency Dr. Fidel Castro and Caribbean leaders during the Petro Caribe Summit in Jamaica early this year. (Photo by Erasmus Williams)

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