Press release 288/2007
(08 December 2007)
 
CARICOM-CUBA DAY:  THIRTY-FIVE YEARS OF PRODUCTIVE RELATIONSHIP

 

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana) Today (Saturday 8 December, 2007) is being observed as CARICOM-Cuba Day marking the 35th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the first four independent CARICOM countries (Barbados, Jamaica, Guyana Trinidad and Tobago), and the Government of Cuba in 1972.

CARICOM-Cuba Day emerged as one of the elements of the Havana Declaration adopted in December 2002 by CARICOM Heads of Government. The Declaration, among other things, sought to further strengthen bilateral and multilateral relations between Cuba and CARICOM and called on the Community and Cuba to celebrate CARICOM-Cuba Day on 8 December of each year.

Since then, the Community has marked the day with several major activities including the hosting of the Second CARICOM-Cuba Summit in Barbados in 2005 under the theme: Strategies for Caribbean Development and the signing there of “the Declaration of Bridgetown” by the Heads of State and Government of CARICOM and of Cuba; the production of print and electronic features depicting the progress of CARICOM-Cuba relations and increased exposure of CARICOM to the culture of Cuba through wide use of Cuban music and other cultural forms, and a statement by the Chairman of CARICOM.

CARICOM Secretary General, His Excellency Edwin W Carrington stated that Cuba continues to be a valued partner of CARICOM in many areas of functional cooperation, including education, health and Sport.

“The Caribbean Community welcomes CARICOM-Cuba Day as an occasion on which it can express the community’s appreciation to the Government and People of Cuba for the technical and other forms of assistance which have been provided to the Member States at both the National and Regional levels,” Secretary General Carrington said.

The Secretary General cited the tangible contributions to the development of human capital in the Region. Under the CARICOM/Cuba Scholarship programme, many CARICOM nationals have completed undergraduate programmes in a wide range of disciplines, such as accounting, agronomy, history of art, various fields of engineering, mathematics, pharmaceutical science, medicine and primary education.

The invaluable service of Cuban doctors and nurses in several hospitals in Member States has injected life in the health of the Region and many Caribbean peoples have also benefited under the “Cuba/Caribbean Eye Care Project.

Over the thirty-five years, Cuba has also played a significant role in promoting and preserving the Caribbean culture, through its cultural experts and institutions. The Cultural Agreement signed between CARICOM and Cuba in December 2005 saw the promotion and development of cultural events such as the Caribbean Festival of Arts (CARIFESTA), the Travelling Film Festival and the Caribbean Festival Feast of Fire as the cornerstones of the accord.

At the trade and economic levels, the Community has established a presence in Cuba embodied in the Trade Facilitation Office, opened by Trinidad and Tobago earlier this year; and according to CARICOM Chairman, The Rt. Honourable Owen Arthur “the common Caribbean identity shared between Cuba and the Community has been integral in encouraging South-South cooperation, facilitated through fora such as G77, where Cuba and CARICOM collaborate to ensure cohesive articulation and promotion of collective economic and development interests.”

Contact: piu@caricom.org
 

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