It is an honour for me to address the Second Summit of Heads of Government and State of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). Let me express my profound appreciation to you, President Castro and to the Government and people of Cuba for the warm hospitality extended to my delegation since our arrival in this beautiful and historic city of Havana. Thank you for facilitating arrangements for Jamaica’s participation in this meeting.
It is fitting that this Summit is hosted by the Government of Cuba, a founding member of CELAC; a Caribbean nation and a long standing, strong advocate of regional solidarity and integration.
Excellencies, the Caribbean has played a central role in articulating the vision of an integrated regional space for our growth and development. The political vision for the unity of Latin America and the Caribbean was first articulated in Kingston in 1815 by Simon Bolivar in his ‘Jamaica Letter’.From Simon Bolivar’s philosophical underpinnings in 1815 to having a CELAC Summit in Havana today, we have now come full circle.
Cuba has, perhaps more than any other country, served as a bridge between the Caribbean and Latin America. In Jamaica, we are proud to have contributed to advancing liberation in Cuba, Haiti and several of our Latin American neighbours, by welcoming to our shores such great titans as Jose Marti, the anniversary of whose birth we mark today; Simon Bolivar and Antonio Maceo.
I convey to you, Mr. President, my heartiest congratulations on Cuba’s sterling leadership of CELAC over the past year; and our heartfelt appreciation for your active promotion of the priority issues and concerns faced by member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) to foster greater understanding.
I have no doubt that Cuba will continue to assist in ensuring the viability and strength of CELAC in the years ahead and will place emphasis on the needs and vital interests of the Caribbean region…READ MORE