JIS News

Prime Minister Bruce Golding said Jamaica will continue its diplomatic relations with Cuba. Acknowledging that there were difficulties in the relationship between Jamaica and Cuba during the 1980s, Mr. Golding said that was a different time and the world has changed dramatically since then. He said both countries could maintain and deepen their relations on the basis of mutual respect and recognition.
To that extent Mr. Golding said his administration would explore new areas of co-operation with Cuba. He said Jamaica would also continue to oppose the economic blockade against Cuba, citing it as counterproductive.
His comments were made this morning (Sept. 12) during a meeting at Jamaica House with Mr. Esteban Lazo Hernandez, Vice President of the Council of State of the Republic of Cuba and his delegation. This was his first official duty since his swearing-in as Prime Minister on Tuesday, Sept. 11.
In addition to technical co-operation and assistance in the areas of health, education and agriculture, Mr. Golding said he would like to explore further, advances in applied technology, particularly as it relates to agriculture and agro-processing. He said Cuba had achieved significant achievements in this area and he would be speaking with local technocrats in order to determine what assistance Jamaica would require.
He said also that there were many areas in which Jamaica had achieved success and recognition and could share its expertise with Cuba beyond what now obtains.
He said while it was the prerogative of the Cuban people to determine their own internal arrangement, and given Jamaica’s commitment to a pluralistic democracy, he was satisfied that both countries could expand their relations with due respect for those rights. Against this background, Mr. Golding said it was significant that his first meeting as Prime Minister was with a delegation from Cuba.
In his remarks, Vice President Hernandez expressed the willingness of his country to maintain and expand its relations with Jamaica. He said Jamaica and Cuba were not bound solely by geography and trade, but that there were cultural and historic ties that are difficult to break. He made reference to some eleven areas of technical co-operation and assistance in which Jamaica and Cuba are involved, adding that there were endless possibilities developing in the field of tourism.
During the meeting Mr. Golding enquired about the health of Cuban President Fidel Castro and asked that his personal regards and best wishes be conveyed to the President. Vice President Hernandez also extended an invitation for Prime Minister Golding to visit Cuba at his earliest convenience which Mr. Golding has accepted.

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