Barbados & Cuba Discuss Possible Areas Of Cooperation

Chief Executive Officer of Export Barbados, Mark Hill and President of BioCubaFarma, Dr. Eduardo Martínez Díaz, shake hands following the signing of a MOU on Biotechnology Cooperation between the Government of Barbados and the Government of the Republic of Cuba yesterday. (Photo credit: T. Barker/BGIS)

Areas of future cooperation were the focus of discussion during a bilateral meeting between Barbados and Cuba at the Lloyd Erskine Sandiford Centre on Monday, December 5.

The bilateral meeting was co-chaired by Senior Minister and Minister of Health and Wellness, The Most Honourable Jerome Walcott and Cuba’s Minister for Foreign Trade and Investment, Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz.

The two officials identified the areas of cooperation as being Trade and Investment; Biotechnology; Health; Agriculture; Tourism; Education; Sports and Youth Empowerment and Culture.

It was noted that the relationship between the two countries had been extremely cooperative and President Miguel Díaz-Canel’s official State Visit “is happening at a very special moment” when the two countries will be celebrating 50 years of diplomatic ties.

Senior Minister Walcott in his remarks to open the session began by thanking the Government of Cuba for its assistance over the years.

“I would, of course, want to thank you on behalf of the people and Government of Barbados for your assistance over the years, especially in health, as it relates to

Operación Milagro and the Cuban Eye programme.  Certainly, also the assistance you’ve rendered, be it in sports with the provision of coaches in various aspects, the discussions we’ve had in the past as it relates to cooperation in agriculture and education, and most definitely, as it relates to foreign trade.

“But more recently during the scourge of COVID-19, the assistance that you provided for us through the realisation of the Henry Reeve Medical Brigade, which provided a number of nurses and doctors and medical technologists to Barbados…, I want to commend your country for providing this vital assistance during the COVID-19 pandemic,” Minister Walcott stated.

In response, Cuba’s Minister Rodrigo Malmierca Díaz, affirmed: “We are totally committed to CARICOM and to Barbados and to developing bilateral relationships with Barbados.  We have excellent diplomatic relations but it has been very challenging to ensure that the economic cooperation reach the level that we want….  

“We need better means of communication and transport between our two countries and, therefore, we are seeking to cooperate and to reunite in order to overcome our difficulties and to advance towards the dream of a united and economically integrated Caribbean.”

Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley, and Cuba’s President Miguel Díaz-Canel along with several ministers and officials from both countries participated in the bilateral discussions.

Both leaders agreed to deepen relations as they chart the way forward and gave their commitment to ensuring that the agreements discussed would be followed through to successful completion.

At the conclusion of the bilateral meeting, a Memorandum of Understanding on Biotechnology Cooperation between the Government of Barbados and the Government of the Republic of Cuba was signed.  Signing on behalf of Barbados was the Chief Executive Officer of Export Barbados, Mark Hill, and for Cuba, the President of BioCubaFarma, Dr. Eduardo Martínez Díaz.

Diplomatic relations between Barbados and the Republic of Cuba were established on December 8, 1972.

Author: Sheena Forde-Craigg/BGIS

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