More than 200 guests attended the event, including former Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Most Honourable Mrs. Portia Simpson-Miller, ON, MP; parliamentarians, government officials, representatives of political groups and international organizations; members of the accredited diplomatic and consular corps; educational, scientific and cultural figures; businessmen; journalists; friends from the solidarity movement with Cuba, Cubans residing in Jamaica, and a delegation of members of the Cuban Medical and Education Cooperation brigades.
The Ambassador of Cuba to Jamaica, Her Excellency Mrs. Inés Fors Fernández, spoke for the host country, and the President of the Senate, the Honorable Senator Thomas Tavares-Finson, on behalf of the Government of Jamaica.
In her remarks, the Cuban diplomat referred to the complex situation faced by the Greatest Island in the Antilles in the year 2019, after the worsening of the US economic, financial and commercial blockade; while highlighting the results achieved by Cuba despite the effects of the aforementioned policy. She also emphasized the positive state of relations between Cuba and Jamaica.
For his part, the President of the Jamaican Senate stressed the importance of the collaboration that Cuba provides Jamaica, particularly in the health and education sectors, and reiterated his country's support for the lifting of the US blockade.
Jamaica and the Republic of Cuba have enjoyed “special bonds of friendship,” since the two countries established diplomatic relations in 1972, says President of the Senate, Tom Tavares-Finson.
“Both countries have consistently demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the development of sustainable technical functional cooperation and programmes, which have allowed us to forge and maintain a dynamic partnership,” he added.
He said that through bilateral cooperation agreements and initiatives, the Government of Cuba has provided invaluable support to Jamaica, particularly in the areas of health and education.
Senator Tavares-Finson, who represented Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, lauded the establishment of the Jamaica/Cuba Eye Care Programme, which began in 2010. To date, he stated that about 30,000 Jamaicans have benefitted under the programme.
Additionally, he said that hundreds of Jamaican students have been the beneficiaries of Cuba’s generosity in advancing their tertiary education in several fields.
He noted that eight students were awarded scholarships in 2019 under the Jamaica Cuban Bilateral Medical Scholarship Programme to pursue studies in Cuba.
Further, Senator Tavares-Finson noted that four educational institutions – Garvey Maceo High School, Clarendon; Jose Marti Technical High School and the G.C. Foster School of Physical Education and Sports, St. Catherine, and the new Fidel Castro Campus of the Anchovy High School, Montpelier, St James – were gifts from the Cuban Government.
“Over 500 Cuban teachers have been assigned to work in all regions of Jamaica over the past years, contributing to Jamaica’s socio-economic development in a very real and practical way,” he said.
He added that Jamaica and Cuba also share bilateral cooperation agreements in the areas of culture, security, agriculture and human resource development.
- Countries: Cuba