Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, has extended condolences to those who lost loved ones in Cuba, following a tornado that hit the country on Sunday (January 27).
“The Government and people of Jamaica express our deepest condolences to those who are mourning and wish a speedy recovery to the many who were in this tornado,” she said.
In a speech read by the President of the Senate, Tom Tavares-Finson, Minister Johnson Smith said the tragic loss of lives, injuries and damage to the infrastructure throughout Cuba are a reminder of the vulnerability of small island states.
“It is a stark reminder of the vulnerability that we share as Small Island Developing States and demonstrates the importance of the assistance granted by Cuba to countries like Jamaica in this area,” the Minister said, adding that Cuba has provided invaluable support to the region in the area of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management.
The Minister’s message was read at a reception on January 31, at the Spanish Court Hotel, in Kingston, to celebrate the 60thanniversary of the Cuban Revolution National Day.
Senator Johnson Smith highlighted the friendship between Jamaica and Cuba since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1972.
“Both countries have shared multiple technical cooperation initiatives over the years, in pursuance of our respective development priorities which span the areas of healthcare, education, security, sports, agriculture and culture,” she said.
The Minister mentioned the visit to the island by the President of the Councils of Ministers and President of the Republic of Cuba, His Excellency Miguel Diaz-Canel, at the invitation of Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Andrew Holness.
She said the visit, which took place in the context of the 30th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of CARICOM, “provided a wonderful opportunity to engage at the highest level on a variety of areas of strategic importance.”
The Minister said that Cuba’s support to the process of nation-building across the region has been demonstrated in various other fora, such as the Association of Caribbean States, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States and the United Nations.
At the United Nations, she said that Jamaica and other CARICOM countries continue to advocate for the ending of the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed against Cuba.
“Jamaica is committed to strengthening our partnership with the beautiful and culturally rich neighbour, the Republic of Cuba, through meaningful dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation in the years ahead,” the Minister added.