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CARICOM chair calls for an end to 'senseless' US embargo on Cuba

Featured Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda and Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Gaston Browne Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda and Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Gaston Browne
HAVANA, Cuba December 8, 2014 - Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda and Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Gaston Browne, has called on the United States President and Congress to end its “senseless embargo of Cuba now.”

Prime Minister Browne was speaking at the opening ceremony of the Fifth CARICOM Cuba Summit in Havana, Cuba on Monday.  He said that CARICOM’s solidarity with Cuba was manifested by the Region’s repeated calls “in every council in every part of the world” for an end to the embargo.

The CARICOM Chairman took the opportunity to express profound appreciation to the host for its role in the fight against Ebola disease.” Cuban doctors, nurses and technicians have not only put their lives at risk to save lives in West Africa; they have saved lives around the world by helping to contain and control the spread of Ebola.  They deserve our deep respect, our great gratitude and our enduring thanks,” he stated.

The Prime Minister noted that trade between the two sides had grown but was mindful of the challenges that existed for its expansion. He referred to the work being done on a protocol to widen the existing trade and development agreement and stated he had no doubt that a mutually satisfactory result would be achieved.

Prime Minister Browne said a practical machinery had to be established to expand trade and investment. “Central to such machinery is effective and affordable transportation for the movement of goods and people between our countries. In this connection, I call on this Summit meeting to place high priority on creating mechanisms to move goods, services and passengers throughout our countries. I am convinced that if Cuba and CARICOM countries can jointly build a transportation network, all our economies will benefit,” he added.

He pointed to the advantages particularly in the field of tourism which such a network could bring. “If Cuba and CARICOM countries can establish the air transportation links and a network of collaboration between our hotels, multi-destination tourism - that offers the distinctiveness of our culturally-rich countries - could be a winner for all of us,” he said.

The CARICOM Chairman suggested that CARICOM and Cuba share their knowledge and experience in sports, particular athletics. He jokingly stated “that if we teach Cubans to play cricket, we might produce a Caribbean cricket team that would restore West Indian cricket to the heights it once majestically enjoyed.”

Prime Minister Browne said that areas for co-operation between CARICOM and Cuba existed at a broad level and it was up to “us to be creative and ingenious in the ways in which we bolster each other.”

“On matters such as climate change and global warming; on financial services and the dictates of the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and development; on the marginalization of our concerns by the G20, we should be coordinating our positions and acting in unison. We may not be able to stand-up to them alone, but they cannot ignore us if we stand-up together, the Prime Minister said.

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