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.
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