In 1972, four of the Caribbean’s great and visionary leaders, Prime Ministers Michael Manley, Eric Williams and Errol Barrow and President Forbes Burnham, defied the US Isolation Policy against Cuba and established diplomatic ties with Cuba. This bold step led to the signing of the Havana Declaration on 8th December 2002 which officially declared 8th December of each year, CARICOM-Cuba Day.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sam Condor, in delivering his speech on the occasion of the 38th annual CARICOM-Cuba Day, said that the day is used by the Caribbean Community “to express our appreciation to the Government and People of Cuba for the technical and other forms of assistance provided to Member States at both the National and Regional levels.”
Noting some of the assistance which Cuba has provided CARICOM, Condor explained that, “Without a doubt, tangible contributions have been made to the development of our Human Capital. The Scholarship Programme has enabled many CARICOM Nationals to complete undergraduate Studies in a wide range of disciplines, such as Medicine, Primary Education, Engineering, Architecture, Agronomy, Art, Finance, Physical Education, Nursing etc…The common Caribbean identity shared between Cuba and the Community it is felt has been integral in encouraging south-south co-operation which is facilitated through groups such as G77; where Cuba and CARICOM collaborate to ensure cohesive articulation and promotion of collective economic and development interests.”
The Minister noted that also, Cuba’s skilled sculptors have assisted in providing a number of sculptures throughout CARICOM which remind us of our heritage and the legacy left behind by great men.
“I pinpoint in our own island, the bust and full body of our first national hero the Rt. Excellent Sir Robert L. Bradshaw at the Airport and St. Paul’s Memorial Park respectively; and the Bust of C.A. Paul Southwell at the Industrial Park named in his honour.
Permit me to acknowledge the invaluable assistance and contributions of the Cuban Resident Ambassadors over the years inclusive of the current Ambassador, His Excellency Jorge Payret, who continues the legacy of successfully facilitating technical, political and diplomatic exchanges between our two Governments and ensuring the maintenance of a close bond of family and friendship.”
Cuba’s invaluable assistance, has been reciprocated, Condor explained.
“It is important to note that CARICOM has in gratitude, reciprocated in areas of annual support at the United Nations General Assembly, of the Cuban–sponsored resolution “necessity of ending the economic commercial and financial embargo imposed by the USA against Cuba. We continue also to use every opportunity at appropriate fora to appeal to the USA to bring an end, to what we consider to be unfair suffering of our Cuban neighbours and friends, resulting from this decades-old embargo.”
Condor expressed that as CARICOM-Cuba Day is commemorated, the possibilities embedded within the principle of oneness must be celebrated.