HAVANA HOLDS THE KEY

Antigua & Barbuda Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer (left) and Cuba President Raul Castro inspecting a Guard of Honor in Havana.
Photo: courtesy Gov’t of Antigua and Barbuda
Photo courtesy of Gov’t of Antigua and Barbuda

The Baldwin Spencer administration in Antigua and Barbuda says it and Cuba have pledged to further strengthen existing relations, not only between the two states but with CARICOM as a whole.

On May 23, at the start of Prime Minister Spencer’s four-day visit to Havana, he and Cuban President Raul Castro Ruz held discussions on several “areas of cooperation and assistance,” according to a statement from the prime minister’s office. It said discussions were “fruitful,” and that agreements were reached in a number of areas.

Included in the Antigua delegation to Cuba were Works and Transport Minister Trevor Walker, U.S. Ambassador Anthony Liverpool and representatives of regional airline LIAT.

Discussions were centered on areas of health, education and training, infrastructural development, tourism and air services, agriculture and sports.

Spencer, a former Caribbean Community (CARICOM) chairman, outlined the need for strengthening relations between the two countries and with the region in general in trade and bilateral cooperation, “which he believes is critical to regional development,” the statement said.

Spencer said that Antigua and Barbuda and Cuba’s relations are “an ideal model for regional co-operation,” it said.

Spencer and his delegation also held discussions with Cuba’s Minister for Cooperation and Foreign Trade and Investment Rodrigo Malmierca Diaz and agreed to pursue cooperation in health, agriculture, aviation, education and training and sports.

Talks were also held on the provision of specialist technicians to examine ways to expand the clinics on Antigua and Barbuda and the provision of specialized medical training for Antiguan and Barbudan doctors in the areas of cardiology, radiology, neurosurgery, oncology and pediatrics.

The statement said plans are also being made to further strengthen Antigua and Barbudas efforts to “deal with the challenges associated with high food prices.”

As a result, it said talks were held for technicians to work in the areas of fisheries and the provision of seeds, “which will further develop the local agriculture sector.”

Spencer and the delegation met on May 25 with students pursuing degree studies in Cuba.

Antigua and Barbuda delegation in talks with Cuba’s Minister for Cooperation and Foreign Trade and Investment.
Photo courtesy of Gov’t of Antigua and Barbuda

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