Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Hon. Dr. Terrance Drew, along with a delegation, is in Bridgetown, Barbados, for the Eighth CARICOM-CUBA Summit, which is taking place at the Llyod Erskine Sandiford Centre today, December 6, 2022.
The Prime Minister is accompanied by the Right Honourable Dr. Denzil Douglas, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ms. Naeemah Hazelle, Permanent Secretary (Ag) in the Prime Minister’s Office, Her Excellency Verna Mills, St. Kitts and Nevis’ Resident Ambassador to the Republic of Cuba, Ambassador-designate Larry Vaughn, Head of the Regional Integration and Diaspora Unit (RIDU) and Mr. Samuel Berridge, Senior Assistant Secretary and RIDU Representative.
In accordance with the Havana Declaration of December 2002 which provides for the convening of a CARICOM-Cuba Summit every three years, the Eighth Summit of Heads of State and Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Republic of Cuba was scheduled to be held on 8 December 2023. However, in keeping with the Joint Declaration adopted by the Seventh CARICOM-Cuba Summit and the proposal by the Prime Minister of Barbados, the Eighth CARICOM-Cuba Summit is being held in Bridgetown, Barbados, on 6th December 2022. This year’s Summit commemorates 50 years of the establishment of CARICOM-Cuba diplomatic relations.
The Summit is co-chaired by His Excellency Chandrikapersad Santokhi, President of the Republic of Suriname and Chairman of The Conference of CARICOM Heads of State and Government, and His Excellency Miguel Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, President of the Council of State and Council of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba.
Since diplomatic relations were established in 1972 between Cuba and the then four independent Caribbean Countries of Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago, the bonds of friendship have deepened significantly. Now all independent CARICOM Member States have Embassies in Cuba. CARICOM and Cuba have also established a Joint Commission under which cooperation is pursued in the economic, social, and cultural spheres, and agreements for trade, economic and cultural cooperation are signed. December 8 has been designated CARICOM-Cuba Day and activities celebrating the establishment of CARICOM-Cuba relations are held annually in each Member State and in Cuba.
Some of the items on the agenda for the one-day Summit include opening remarks by Dr. Carla N. Barnett, Secretary-General, Caribbean Community (CARICOM), Hon. Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados; H.E. Miguel Diaz-Canel Bermudez, President of the Republic of Cuba and H.E. Chandrikapersad Santokhi, President of the Republic of Suriname and Chairman of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM.
The Programme of Work for the Summit includes an overview of bilateral relations, health, agriculture and food security, climate change and disaster reduction, global issues and multilateral cooperation, and the Adoption of the Joint CARICOM-CUBA Declaration (Bridgetown Declaration).
St. Kitts and Nevis established diplomatic relations with the Republic of Cuba on May 10, 1995. The relationship between the two countries has borne many fruits including scholarship offers to study in Cuba in many fields including medicine and engineering and healthcare assistance. St. Kitts and Nevis continues to make the clarion call for the decades-old US economic Embargo against Cuba to be lifted. The Embassy of the Republic of Cuba in St. Kitts and Nevis is headed by H.E. Ambassador David Rivera Perez.