Jamaica, Cuba Announce Joint Venture to Improve Economic Relations for Both Island Nations
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Prime Minister Andrew Holness says Jamaica and Cuba have pledged to identify ways to deepen collaboration and exchanges in the areas of trade, tourism, climate change and disaster mitigation, as well as culture and education.
“We have affirmed the commitment to examine the possibilities at the bilateral level to improve the current state of economic relations and methods for expansion, especially in light of the new dynamics in United States/Cuba relations,” Holness said.
He added that among the possible areas identified for action are a stronger mechanism for cooperation in culture, music and the creative industries.
“Recently, we signed a multi-destination agreement because it appears the plank of the new relationship between the U.S. and Cuba is on tourism, and we want to market the Caribbean as a product,” Holness said.
The prime minister was speaking in the House of Representatives, where he led tributes to former President of the Republic of Cuba, Fidel Castro. Castro, who died on Friday, Nov. 25, led the island nation for almost 50 years. He had retired from active politics in 2008 due to illness.
In his tribute, Holness said Castro had been a significant leader on the world stage.
He described the former leader as the embodiment of resistance, revolution and self-reliance, and while he was criticized for his totalitarian approach to government and record on human rights, admirers saw him as a visionary and a nation builder.
“Notwithstanding where one falls on the spectrum, there is worldwide consensus on his charisma and on the conviction of his beliefs,” Holness said.
Holness noted the longstanding friendly relations between the countries, with Jamaica receiving assistance in the areas of education, health and sports.
He cited the José Martí Technical High School and the GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sport, which were built by the Cuban government. The Fidel Castro Campus of the Anchovy High School in Montpelier, St. James, was opened in 2015.
Jamaica has benefited from the services of Cuban doctors and nurses, and hundreds of people with eye diseases have been treated under the Cuban Eye Care Program.
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