PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad & Tobago: Dr. Denzil Douglas, Prime Minister of St. Kitts & Nevis and Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), has lauded the CARICOM-Cuba relationship, which he says, has remained robust and has survived an ever-changing hemispheric and international geopolitical environment since its establishment 39 years ago.
“CARICOM remains convinced that advancing cooperation with Cuba, at all levels, is in our interest in the face of a series of phenomena which threatens our basic viability and compels us to cope with them with determination,” Dr. Douglas told the opening ceremony of the Fourth CARICOM – Cuba Summit here last week.
Douglas said that, a year ago, CARICOM foreign ministers met with Cuba’s Foreign Minister, Bruno Rodriguez Parilla, for their third ministerial meeting in Havana.
“That meeting allowed both sides to review the relationship between CARICOM and Cuba and to propose measures for continued collaboration to confront the many challenging issues faced by our countries, including climate change …”
The chairman said that, “as small States with limited resources, it is imperative that we pool our efforts and stand behind common principles in order to advance our objectives.
“Those principles include adherence to the United Nations Charter and, for us in particular, adherence to the principles of the self-determination of peoples; of non-interference in the internal affairs of states; and of upholding the rule of international law.”
Douglas said that in keeping with these principles, CARICOM has remained resolute in its camaraderie with Cuba and in its firm stance of calling for an end to the economic, commercial and financial embargo on Cuba.
“CARICOM takes the opportunity of this Summit to again urge the government of the United States of America to heed the overwhelming call of the members of the United Nations to lift, with immediate effect, the unjust economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed against the Republic of Cuba,” Douglas said.
He said that the Fourth Summit provides an opportunity to reaffirm a shared Caribbean identity and commitment to South-South cooperation in the promotion and protection of common values and interests.
“It also affords us the opportunity to advance our discussions on strategies for confronting the challenges to the sustainable development and welfare of the peoples of CARICOM and Cuba.
The meeting marked the 39th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the four then independent countries of the English-speaking Caribbean and Cuba.
The agreement to establish diplomatic ties with Cuba was signed on December 8, 1972 by the late President of Guyana, Forbes Burnham, and then Prime Ministers Errol Barrow of Barbados, Michael Manley of Jamaica and Dr. Eric Williams of Trinidad & Tobago, and sent a statement to the world that these members of the then Caribbean Free Trade Area (CARIFTA) considered Cuba an integral and vital part of the Caribbean.