The House of Representatives has given full support to a motion calling for the lifting of the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed on Cuba by the United States (US) 50 years ago.
The motion, brought to the Chamber by Minister of Industry, Investment and Commerce, Hon. Anthony Hylton, is in support of a Resolution to be submitted by Cuba to the United Nations (UN) General Assembly next month titled: ‘Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba’.
This will be the 21st consecutive time that Cuba will be presenting this Resolution at the UN General Assembly and the fourth occasion that the Jamaican legislature was approving a motion in support of the move.
Mr. Hylton said the time has come for the embargo to be lifted and urged the House to send a continuing message that the blockade against Cuba is wrong, illegitimate, immoral, unlawful and therefore should not stand.
“The time has come for there to be a working towards normalisation of the relationship between Cuba and the United States” he said.
Mr. Hylton argued that the motion is not an empty gesture but “sends powerful signals to our colleagues, our friends in the United States and to the Cuban people and Government as well, that Jamaica stands firmly on an issue of vital importance to their continued existence and to their prosperity as a people”.
Member of Parliament for St. Catherine West Central, Dr. Kenneth Baugh, in voicing his support, stated that the embargo is a “remnant of the past when the world was polarized by ideologies…we have moved on from then”.
He said he is very impressed with the friendship of the Cubans, their willingness to share, and the fact that they have made tremendous progress notwithstanding the embargo.
He noted that the eye surgeries facilitated by Cuba, among other things, has been of great benefit to Jamaica. “There is no doubt that Jamaica will continue to benefit if the embargo is removed from Cuba,” he stated.
Leader of Government Business in the House, Hon. Phillip Paulwell, said he wholeheartedly supported the motion, noting that the blockade is an international issue that “unfortunately still hangs like a cloud, despite resolution after resolution being passed by the United Nations General Assembly.”
He further expressed the hope that whatever the outcome of the American presidential elections, “that the issues relating to Cuba will be high on the agenda, especially as it relates to the removal of the blockade”.
Opposition Spokesperson on National Security and Justice, Delroy Chuck, said Jamaica and the Caribbean people have an interest in having the blockade removed as it would be advantageous in many respects.
“If this blockade is removed, not only will it benefit us economically, but it will allow better trade relationship, better tourism engagements, and especially, we the Jamaican people would be able to interact with the Cuban people more openly and freely than we presently can,” he said.
Last year 186 member states of the UN, including Jamaica, and representing the vast majority of the international community, voted in favour of the Cuban Resolution.
“Governments and persons committed to the norms of the multilateral trading system, to the freedom of trade and navigation, to the principles of the Charter of the United Nations, to the International Law and to the rejection of the Extraterritorial application of a national law, are expected to vote again on the 13th of November, 2012, in favour of the draft resolution at the UN General Assembly, which demands the lifting of the blockade,” Mr. Hylon’s motion read.