Diplomatic Relations between Cuba and Guyana5161 03 Jan, 2013
Mr. Neendkumar: Thank you Mdm. Deputy Speaker. I rise in support of the motion that we are discussing in recognising the 40th Anniversary, since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the Republic of Guyana and the Republic of Cuba.
Minister of Foreign Affairs, Carolyn Rodrigues Birkett’s motion is indeed significant. Our country certainly enjoys tremendous benefits from the bi-lateral relationship established with our neighbour in the Caribbean Sea. Hence, Cuba, the Government and people deserve our unflinching support.
Guyana is one of the countries in full support of the Cuban Government and people. The People’s Progressive Party, the People’s National Congress (PNC) and the Working Peoples’ Alliance (WPA) are always in solidarity with Cuba. Over the years, the Caricom Community has received significant assistance from Cuba. This has been mainly in the field of health and human resource development. Through the Caricom Cuba Scholarship Programme, this programme was established in 1989 to increase cooperation and educate a canner of Caricom professionals in the critical areas such as, education, health and agriculture.
At a political level, the peoples of Cuba and Guyana developed a relationship of desirable quality at the level of the party. However, over the forty years, the relationship with Cuba, which has been built on the solid foundation of dynamic political dialogue and warm mutual respect, has shown tremendous growth and development. In difficult times in our country, I could remember vividly how the leaders in Cuba try to unite our people in Guyana.
Guyanese enjoy the genuine relationship at all levels with Cubans. While the various political parties had strong tides with Cuba, the youth arms, the women arms of the political parties also enjoyed a healthy relationship. The trade union movements had excellent relationship; hence, Guyanese and Cubans are true friends.
I recall in 1978, when approximately two hundred Guyanese youths and students went to the 11th World Festival of Youths and Students in Havana. I think one of the leaders of that delegation was none other than my good comrade, Clement Rohee. Those memories will live on. Apart of the Guyana delegation travelled from Georgetown to Kingston Jamaica by plane, then from Kingston to Montego Bay by road; then from Montego Bay to Cuba by boat, that was indeed an unforgettable experience. At the festival in Cuba, thousands of youths from all over the world celebrated and shared a memorable, once in a life time experience. Miracle Mission was a special programme, where mostly the older Guyanese benefitted from better eye treatment and care. Today, Guyanese are indeed thankful for the state of the art, eye care facility at Port Mourant.
We have hundred of medical doctors who are trained in Cuba, not to mention the other technical areas in which others were trained. Today, I am proud to listen to Guyanese from the Diaspora who speaks about the importance and benefits eye care and dental care in their country. Most important is the fact that the medical service is far cheaper in our country than in North America, thanks to the Cuban Government and people.
In sport, we also have excellent bilateral relationships. Presently, we have two Cuban coaches attached to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, the boxing coach Francisco and the swimming coach Isabella are working with our athletes in the two disciplines to further develop them so that our boxers and swimmers can bring Guyana glory at international level. 40 years is a relatively short time in history, but the relationship between our two countries have developed and strengthened and has seen great success.
I would like to see the United States of America put an end to the Cuban economic blockade. We need to respect the sovereignty of all nations. The Cuban Government and nation are living in peace and harmony. Cuba is a source of inspiration in several areas for the world to see particularly in medicine and sports.
I fully support the motion in the name of our Foreign Affairs Minister. Thank you. [Applause]
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