PM Pays Tribute to President Castro


Prime Minister, Bruce Golding has paid tribute to the retiring President of Cuba, Fidel Castro.
In a statement to the House, yesterday (February 19), Mr. Golding said the announcement made by Mr. Castro, that he would not be seeking re-election as President of the Cuban Sate Council and as Commander in Chief of the Cuban armed forces, can be seen as the end, “not just of an era, the end of eras, because President Castro remains the longest serving Head of government, I believe, the world has ever known.”
“We on this side have never been ambivalent about President Fidel Castro during the period of the great ideological divide. We were fierce opponents of the political values as were espoused then, and we expressed that opposition in very forceful terms,” said the Prime Minister.
“Happily that era is behind us. Jamaica and Cuba today enjoy a relationship that is mutually respectful and mutually beneficial. As recently as a few months ago, Cuba provided assistance to us in tackling our significant engineering challenge to rescue the Palisadoes road,” he added.
Jamaican citizens have also received free eye care through the Jamaica-Cuba ‘Miracle Eye Care Programme’. Since it began in 2005, more than 11,000 patients have been screened and more than 3,800 operations have been done.
Mr. Golding also hailed President Castro for his steadfastness, courage, strength of his leadership and his unswerving commitment to the cause of the Cuban people.
“There is a transition that will now take place and one of the hopes that we have is that this transition will be a defining moment and that it will enable Cuba to take an unambiguous place in the international community and put an end, once and for all, to the unjustified isolation of the Cuban people,” he said.
Opposition Leader, Portia Simpson Miller, also hailed the Cuban leader. “I think this afternoon I can say that this morning a legend, a giant and a champion departed the stage of political leadership in his country, Cuba. That giant is Fidel Castro,” Mrs. Simpson Miller said.
She also thanked the Cuban leader for contributing to Jamaica’s education sector by constructing three schools, namely the Jos

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