St. Kitts PM Douglas says Fourth CARICOM-Cuba Summit reaffirms a shared Caribbean identity

PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas says the CARICOM-Cuba relationship 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 threaten our basic viability and compel us to cope with them with determination,” Prime Minister Douglas told the Opening ceremony of the Fourth CARICOM –Cuba Summit in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.
Dr. Douglas noted that a year ago, CARICOM Foreign Ministers met with Cuba’s Foreign Minister, His Excellency, Mr. 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 and the hindrance posed by the global economic crisis on the attainment of the Millennium Development Goals,” Dr. Douglas said.
He told Cuba’s President His Excellency Raoul Castro, “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.”
Prime Minister Douglas said 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 of the Republic of Cuba.
“CARICOM therefore 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,” said Dr. Douglas.

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 a 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. As we embark on our deliberations, we are assured of the further strengthening of the friendly and fraternal relationship which has been forged between CARICOM and Cuba over these past 39 years. Viva CARICOM-Cuba!,” said the CARICOM Chairman.

The meeting marked the 39th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the four then independent countries of the English-speaking Caribbean and the Republic of Cuba.
The signing on 8 December 1972 of the agreement establishing diplomatic ties with Cuba was a bold undertaking by the late, President Forbes Burnham of Guyana, and Prime Ministers Errol Barrow of Barbados, Michael Manley and Dr. Eric Williams which 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.  

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