CARICOM & Cuba Commemorate Aircraft Tragedy

Barbados’ Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley and her St. Vincent counterpart, Ralph Gonsalves, lay wreaths at the Cubana Monument in Paynes Bay, St James, in remembrance of those who lost their lives in the Cubana de Aviacíon Flight 455 crash on October 6, 1976. (Photo credit: T. Barker/BGIS)

President of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel and founder and General Manager of La Colmenita, Carlos Alberto Cremata Malberti (partially hidden), lay wreaths at the Cubana Monument, yesterday. Mr. Cremata’s father was one of the passengers on Flight 455. (Photo credit: T. Barker/BGIS)’

The tragic terrorist bombing of Cubana de Aviacíon flight 455 on October 6, 1976, was yesterday commemorated by members of CARICOM and government personnel from the Republic of Cuba at the Cubana Monument, Paynes Bay, St James.

During a wreath laying ceremony on Tuesday, December 6, Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Amor Mottley; President of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel; and representatives from CARICOM who established diplomatic ties with Cuba on December 8, 1972, paid tribute to the memory of those who lost their lives in the crash; and pledged their commitment to the continuation of cooperation and strengthening of ties among each other.

Prime Minister Mottley in her tribute expressed the hope that the Cubana monument which was unveiled in 1998 would always stand to symbolise the concept of the pursuit of liberty. 

“May the memory of those who have fallen inspire us always to preach the virtues of love, justice and solidarity, and may their memory always inspire us to preserve this Caribbean as a zone of peace,” she emphasised.

Ms. Mottley stressed that the people of the Caribbean are stronger together and it is necessary for the people of the region now more than ever, to unite as they seek to provide, protect and develop their people’s future.

Trinidad and Tobago’s Minister of Trade, Paula Gopee-Scoon, who delivered remarks on behalf of the Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago, Keith Rowley, noted that the event was a “defining moment” that spurred the strengthening of diplomatic relations between Cuba and the Caribbean region, which has blossomed and grown over the years.

President of Guyana, Dr. Irfaan Ali, said the 73 victims including 11 Guyanese who perished as a result of the “dastardly act” would forever be remembered and they would hold a special place in the hearts of the region for “having innocently paid the supreme sacrifice” that has led to solidarity between CARICOM and Cuba. 

“Cuba, Guyana, CARICOM did not succumb to terrorism, did not fall to terrorism, but grew stronger and built better relationships and advanced human dignity,” he stated.

Cuban President Díaz-Canel expressed appreciation to CARICOM for acknowledging the event of October 6, 1976, as an act of terrorism and called for the continued denouncement of the “unspeakable crime” at the United Nations and its Security Council.

He also commended Barbados for the erection of the monument and thanked the government and the people of Barbados for its continued remembrance in commemorating the event every year.

In addition to the wreaths laid, a moment of silence was acknowledged for the 73 persons on board the Cuban flight from Barbados to Jamaica who lost their lives when the aircraft crashed on October 6, 1976.

The wreath laying ceremony was part of the activities of the Eighth CARICOM-Cuba Summit which commemorated 50 years of diplomatic relations between CARICOM and Cuba relations, which were established on December 8, 1972, by four CARICOM Member States, namely Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad and Tobago. 

Author: Sheena Forde-Craigg/BGIS


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