Cuba to help Caricom fight drugs, arms trade
By Clint Chan Tack Saturday, December 10 2011
CUBAN PRESIDENT Raul Castro has offered to assist Caricom to combat the illicit trade in small arms and narcotics.
This was identified by St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr Denzil Douglas as one of several points of agreement contained in the Declaration of Port-of-Spain which was released following the conclusion of the Fourth Caricom-Cuba Summit at the National Academy for the Performing Arts (NAPA) in Port-of-Spain on Thursday night.
Addressing a news conference at NAPA after the summit’s conclusion, Douglas said Castro highlighted some of the measures which Cuba has taken to stamp out the illegal arms and drug trades and is offering to assist Caricom nations in this regard.
In the Declaration, Castro and the Caricom leaders expressed deep concern about the continued threats which arms, drugs and human trafficking pose to the development efforts and social welfare of the people of the region.
Douglas, who is also the outgoing Caricom chairman, said Castro also agreed to consider suggestions made by Caricom leaders to make certain tertiary health facilities in Cuba more accessible to Caricom nationals.
The Declaration reiterated the call by Castro and Caricom leaders for the United States “to heed the overwhelming call of members of the United Nations Charter and to lift with immediate effect the unjust, economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed against the Republic of Cuba.”
In the Declaration, Castro and Caricom leaders also renewed their commitment for continued collaboration in areas such as health, expanding trade links (specifically full implementation of the Caricom-Cuba Trade and Economic Cooperation Agreement), climate change and combating terrorism.
A special statement, endorsed by Castro and the Caricom leaders, described the intervention of US authorities to prevent the Fourth Caricom-Cuba summit from taking place at the Hilton Trinidad as “the intrusion of the United States against the sovereignty of Trinidad and Tobago.” Douglas said a copy of that statement will be sent to the US State Department.
He did not think this statement would be offensive to the US government or harm US-Caricom relations.