Former PM of St. Kitts and Nevis saddened by loss of lives in Cuba

Hon. Dr. Denzil Douglas requests ambassador’s assistance on the welfare of local students studying in Cuba

BASSETERRE, St. Kitts – St. Kitts and Nevis’ Leader of the Opposition and former Prime Minister, the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas said Tuesday he is deeply saddened by the loss and damages sustained by the Republic of Cuba in the aftermath of the devastating Hurricane Irma.

In a letter delivered to the Embassy of Cuba in Basseterre, Dr. Douglas also requested the Cuban Ambassador, His Excellency, Hugo Ruiz Cabrera, to find out the status of the Kittitian and Nevisian students studying in Cuba in provinces affected by the recent hurricane and hoped that the Government of St. Kitts and Nevis will make a financial donation to Cuba in its recovery efforts.

“On behalf of the St. Kitts and Nevis Labour Party and in my capacity as the Leader of Her Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, l am kindly requesting that you use your good offices to convey our sincere regrets to the Government and people of your beloved country over this catastrophic development,” said Dr. Douglas.

“Notwithstanding the fact that the islands were in a state of preparedness before the passage of this hurricane, we are cognizant that it dealt a severe blow to all sectors of the economy. The loss of human lives, property and extensive economic damage are regretted and should, no doubt, elicit from our part, the urge to give serious consideration to sustaining partnership and goodwill with friendly countries such as yours,” said the former prime minister.

St. Kitts and Nevis students studying in Cuba in 2013

File photo of then St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister, the Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas greeting St. Kitts and Nevis students studying in Cuba in 2013.

Dr. Douglas noted the myriad areas of cooperation that were shared and which were further strengthened during his Labour Party’s tenure in government and which mandates reciprocity at this critical time of natural disaster.

Dr. Douglas pointed out that although St. Kitts and Nevis has suffered minimal damage in the wake of Hurricane Irma, “l am imploring that our Government avail its resources to assist your beloved country, especially considering that Cuba has been pivotal in contributing to the development of various sectors of our economy over the past 22 years.”

“I would also appreciate if you could use your good offices to ascertain the status of our students who are currently studying in Cuba,” said Dr. Douglas.

Media reports say Irma hit Cuba as a category 5 hurricane and barrelled through the central and western provinces, causing catastrophic destruction in a country that prides itself on disaster preparedness. At least 10 people died – Cuba’s worse hurricane death toll since Hurricane Dennis killed 16 in 2005.

Seven of the fatalities were in Havana, whose historic buildings were no match for the force of the storm. And as uprooted trees were hauled away, and electricity returned to more neighbourhoods, many in the Cuban capital were asking whether authorities were ready for another storm.

Two brothers, Roydis and Walfrido Valdés, died instantly in their central Havana apartment when a huge block of concrete fell from four storeys above them.

Posted in: National News
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