Region Observes CARICOM/Cuba Day


Today (December 8), is being observed as CARICOM/Cuba Day by the Caribbean community, including Jamaica.At the 9th special Meeting of the Conference of Caribbean Heads of Government in 2003, it was agreed that member states would mark CARICOM/Cuba Day on December 8 each year, in recognition of the important relationship between the two groups.
Member states have been encouraged by the CARICOM Secretariat to undertake activities at the national level to commemorate the occasion, including the mounting of exhibitions.
Cuba enjoys excellent relations with CARICOM countries and is a full member of the Association of Caribbean States (ACS). The most significant development in the relationship is the CARICOM/Cuba Summit, which is held every three years. The first Summit was held in Havana, Cuba in July 2002.
The second one was held in Barbados in December 2005 and the third is scheduled for Cuba in 2008.
In 1992 a CARICOM-Cuba Joint Commission was established to promote technical co-operation between the two groups in the areas of technology, human resource development, the environment, disaster mitigation, meteorology, tourism and transportation.
Additionally, in July 2000, a CARICOM/Cuba Trade and Economic Co-operation Agreement was signed to stimulate trade and business links between the two sides.
CARICOM states benefit mostly from its relationship with Cuba in the areas of health, education and agriculture. Under the Operacion Milagro Eye Care Programme, more than 10,000 Caribbean citizens have benefited from free eye care in Cuba.
Fifty academic scholarships are awarded by the Cuban Government each year to CARICOM nationals to study specific disciplines at Cuban institutions. These are in addition to scholarships offered on a bilateral basis to individual countries.
Cuba has also been on a drive to help CARICOM countries observe better energy conservation practices by donating energy-saving light bulbs that have saved the region US$193 million.
Jamaica and Cuba maintain excellent bilateral relations, having formally established diplomatic relations on December 8, 1972.

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