President Elect – Barack Obama
Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis
Decemebr 09, 2008 (CUOPM)
St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas told the Third CARICOM-CUBA Summit there is an urgent need to engage the United States President-Elect Hon. Barack Obama on his views regarding the offshore financial services sector which can adversely affect the twin-island’s economic diversification strategy, especially in light of the threats of the OECD countries to introduce a new “blacklisting” initiative of off-shore financial jurisdictions.
Prime Minister also said that St. Kitts and Nevis and the region must move expeditiously in the implementation of the Jagdeo Initiative and for empowerment of the Caribbean people in agriculture.
Dr. Douglas reiterated at the meeting in the City of Santiago that “CARICOM and Cuba must never grow weary of speaking out on issues of climate change and the unscrupulous and indiscriminate harm to the environment by some developed countries.”
Prime Minister Douglas graphically outlined the effect of Hurricane Omar on the coastal countries of St. Kitts and Nevis and the financial and social burden necessitated to resettle several families from the coastal communities affected by that storm.
The III CARICOM-Cuba Summit under the theme, “Cooperation for greater integration in the Caribbean” opened on 8th December at the MelÃa Santiago de Cuba Hotel in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba on the 36th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the then four independent countries of the Caribbean and Cuba.
On the evening preceding the Opening Ceremony, Prime Minister Douglas and his CARICOM counterparts attended a Welcome Dinner hosted by His Excellency RaÃºl Castro Ruz, President of the Councils of State and of Ministers of the Republic of Cuba.
During the opening ceremony, the President of Cuba expressed appreciation to the CARICOM for its unflinching efforts to Cuba and Prime Minister Hon. Baldwin Spencer, current Chair of CARICOM thanked Cuba for its support to the Caribbean particularly in agriculture, education and health over the years.
The heads of CARICOM and the President of Cuba engaged in dynamic exchanges addressing the current global financial, food, energy and environmental crises and their impact on the Caribbean countries and brainstormed on means aimed at deepening relations between CARICOM and Cuba.
During the meeting other issues discussed included “Cuba and the CARICOM countries in light of the Summit of Latin America and the Caribbean on Integration and Development” and “Cooperation between Cuba and the countries of CARICOM. Situation and perspectives.”
CARICOM also bestowed an Honorary Order on former President His Excellency Fidel Castro Ruz for his longstanding support and assistance to the region.
At the conclusion of the III Summit, leaders of CARICOM and Cuba adopted the Santiago de Cuba Declaration which renewed their commitment to continued solidarity and friendship.