MINISTER OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS REFLECTS ON RELATIONS BETWEEN ST. KITTS AND NEVIS AND CUBA

Basseterre, St. Kitts, December 08, 2016 (SKNIS): The Honourable Mark Brantley, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Aviation, reflected on the relations between St. Kitts and Nevis and Cuba, as the Federation joins other CARICOM Member States in celebrating CARICOM-Cuba Day on Thursday, December 08.

“This year, St Kitts and Nevis and Cuba celebrated twenty (21) years of fruitful relations and the establishment of diplomatic ties. The Government of St. Kitts and Nevis holds in highest regard its relationship with the people and the Government of the Republic of Cuba.” said Minister Brantley. “St. Kitts and Nevis has not only benefitted through the multilateral CARICOM-CUBA arrangement, but also bilaterally. We admire and acknowledge with deep appreciation, the influential leadership of the late Former President, Fidel Castro Ruz and his vision of building camaraderie. The wide range of cooperation programmes, scholarships and technical assistance offered by the Cuban Government has yielded results for our people and the Federation.”

Minister Brantley spoke to the many persons that would have received scholarships under the Cuba and St. Kitts and Nevis relations.

“Currently, twenty-one (21) students are pursuing studies in Cuba and to date a total of over one hundred (100) students have graduated from Cuban institutions and have embarked on careers that have positively impacted every facet of our society especially in education, health, agriculture, and even the private sector,” said the foreign affairs minister. “The level of commitment of the Government of Cuba to contribute to capacity building and human resource development was once again demonstrated this academic year through the offer of ten (10) scholarships in the areas of Medicine, Civil Aviation, Health Technology and Medical Specialties in the form of postgraduate scholarships. We are equally grateful for the invaluable service of the Cuban medical practitioners who are currently deployed in our health institutions in the Federation.”

He commended Cuba for its advancements in the health sector.

“Cuba’s revolutionary Health Care system is model for the region and World with major medical progress in treatments for cancer, diabetic foot ulcers and for advanced head and neck tumors,” said Minister Brantley. “Permit me to also specifically mention Cuba’s success of becoming the first country in the world to receive validation from the World Health Organization (WHO) for eliminating mother to child transmission of HIV and Syphilis. We also recognize Cuba’s dedication and commitment to our states, permitting a specific number of cancer patients from the CARICOM region to access free cancer treatment once there. Additionally, the provision of Cuban Doctors and specialty nurses as well as educational experts to CARICOM countries has been invaluable. Furthermore, we are also reminded of the Joint health program between Cuba and Venezuela and the CARICOM, named the “Miracle Eye Mission”.

In addition to health, Minister Brantley also commended Cuba for the policies that have brought about positive changes in agriculture, the private sector and taxes over the past year.

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