PM Roosevelt Skerrit Receives Order of José Martí

Prime Minister of Dominica Roosevelt Skerrit has expressed feeling “a deep sense of honor and pride and a profound sense of humility” having received the Order of José Martí by the government and people of Cuba.

Skerrit spoke upon his return to Dominica on April 29, reiterating his position on the lifting of the US blockade on Cuba and praising Cuba for its contributions in health which has benefited all of the Caribbean Community.

“I was humbled to be considered worthy of such a magnificent tribute. Jose Marti, the national hero of Cuba, embodied this country’s fight for independence, for self-determination, and for the autonomy to map the destiny free from the ties of the colonial past. After the three days spent in Cuba, I can tell you that the sentiments of pride and patriotism are as dominant in the Cuban people today, as when Martí advocated for moral and ethical values, cultural enlightenment and independence for Cuba in the late 19th century,” remarked the Prime Minister.

The Order of José Marti is Cuba’s highest state recognition and is awarded to ationals, and Heads of States and Governments, who have distinguished records in the defense of human rights and have made special contributions to education, culture, governance and the well-being of all peoples.

“Cuba’s economy, as we all know, has been severely impacted by the imposition of a six decade long blockade by the United States on behalf of government and people of Dominica. I pledged unwavering solidarity and support for Cuba and the international arena and for resolutions which advance the country’s development and safeguard the rights and interests of the Cuban people.

I give the President, His Excellency Diaz Bermudez, the assurance that we will continue to advocate for the normalization of relations with Cuba and the lifting of sanctions for enhanced peace, stability and economic growth. Despite a substantial disadvantage, these advantages of the economic embargo, Cuba continues to provide valuable support and assistance to Dominica and to many of our counterparts in the region.”

He recalled years of Cuba-Dominica collaboration in the areas of education, health, culture and social services and the Dominican Cuba Scholarship Program launched in November 1979, through which hundreds of Dominicans have received professional training in Cuba in various fields of study.

“Many Cuban graduates among them doctors, vets, dental surgeons, foresters, agronomists, architects and civil engineers hold key positions within the private and public sectors in Dominica, while others are building careers in countries around the world.

Several doctors currently on staff at the National Hospital are Cuban trained, many of whom have pursued specialty degrees in various arms of medicine and know formed a pillar of our health system. Following the devastation of Tropical Storm Erika in 2015 Hurricane Maria in 2017 and now a global pandemic. Cuba has supported Dominica Pre-Deployment of health professionals, including nurses doctors and lab technicians to assist in the administration of care and the management of COVID-19.”

Skerrit said that medical cooperation has been crucial in the Caribbean; “here in the Caribbean, every single country, if you were to remove Cuban trained doctors and Cuban doctors from the health system of every country, no exception and health systems would collapse.”

New cooperation between the two islands is already in the works: “Last year, our respective Ministries of Health signed a new cooperation agreement for the cement in our long standing collaboration in the matter in the areas of health and serving as another example of the excellent bilateral relations we enjoy. This contributions are indeed significant, and I assured the Cuban authorities of our commitment to even closer ties and collaboration in the areas of culture, education, health, agriculture and disaster mitigation.”

The Prime Minister took the opportunity to highlight Cuba’s contributions to independence in Angola and to the fight for self-determination in other African states.

For CARICOM, the appeal to end the six decade-long embargo is based on principles, justice and fairness, not anti-Americanism, said the PM.

A celebration which included music was held later that day in honor of the Prime Minister and the great recognition.

Prime Minister Skerrit’s remarks can be seen here.

By Kawsachun News

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