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PM heads delegation to Sixth CARICOM-Cuba Summit


Prime Minister Dr Ralph E Gonsalves was among Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) who attended the Sixth CARICOM-Cuba Summit last Friday, December 8.

The meeting, which was held at the Carlisle Bay Resort in Antigua and Barbuda, was co-chaired by the Chair of CARICOM, Prime Minister Dr Keith Mitchell of Grenada and the President of Cuba, Raúl Castro.

CARICOM and Cuba have enjoyed 45 years of diplomatic relations and at Friday’s meeting, issues of regional and international importance, including climate change adaptation and disaster risk management, were examined.

According to a release from the CARICOM Secretariat, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and Cuba’s Agency for Civil Defence, which will provide opportunities for closer collaboration, especially following the devastating impact of the September 2017 hurricanes across the region, and the increased focus on climate change resilience.

The Second Protocol to the CARICOM-Cuba Trade Agreement was signed in November 2017 to strengthen trade relations between CARICOM and Cuba. This protocol expands reciprocal duty-free market access to more than 320 items, including meat, fish, dairy products, fruits, vegetables, beer, rum, cement, soap and apparel.

Cuba, a significant development partner, has supported the Caribbean Community in building its human resource capacity through scholarship programmes offered in several areas of study, including health and medicine, sports, agriculture and trade.

The summit will conclude with the adoption of a CARICOM-Cuba Joint Declaration.

Prime Minister Gonsalves was accompanied by Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Sustainable Development Camillo Gonsalves; Minister of Education, National Reconciliation, Ecclesiastical Affairs and Information St Clair Prince and Ambassador to Cuba Ellsworth John.