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Kamla meets President Castro

By Sean Douglas Wednesday, January 29 2014

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Hola Kamla: Cuban President Raul Castro greets Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran at the opening cere...
Hola Kamla: Cuban President Raul Castro greets Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and Foreign Affairs Minister Winston Dookeran at the opening cere...

PRIME Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar was among regional leaders who attended the II CELAC Summit in Havana, Cuba yesterday and met Cuba President Raul Castro and mulled several special declarations.

After a scintillating performance by the Cuban Youth Orchestra playing a medley of Caribbean music including Calypso Rose’s Road March “Fire, Fire”, Heads of State and Government retired to a private meeting with President Raul Castro before the beginning of the Plenary Session.

Several special declarations were considered, some of particular interest to Trinidad and Tobago (TT).

These included a “Draft Special Declaration on the Promotion of Equity and Empowerment of Women” in the New post-2015 Development Agenda.

Regarding the “Draft Special Declaration on Illicit Trafficking in Small Arms and Light Weapons in All Its Aspects in Latin America and the Caribbean”, Persad-Bissessar signaled the intention of TT to offer to host the Secretariat of the Arms Trade Treaty.

Leaders agreed to a “Draft Special Declaration on the World Drug Problem”, stressing that drug control policies must be comprehensive and balanced. They also recognised the principle of common and shared responsibility, as well as, an approach aimed at the well-being of persons and the prevention of crime and violence. The Heads saw drug abuse as a public health problem, needing policies that give a higher priority to prevention, treatment, rehabilitation and social insertion, based on the different realities of each member state and full respect for territorial sovereignty and integrity.

The vulnerability of Small Island States was also addressed in the Draft Special Declaration on Small Island Developing States (SIDS). Heads recognised that the Third International Conference on SIDS presented a pivotal movement to focus development efforts, facilitate dialogue, build partnerships and make development strategies more results-oriented.

Another area of interest to Trinidad and Tobago was the Draft Special Declaration on the Issue of Reparations for Slavery and the Genocide of Native Peoples. Heads welcomed the formation of the Caricom Reparations Commission and noted its ongoing work to define the issues and challenges arising from the centuries-long Atlantic slave trade and the genocide committed against indigenous populations, as well as the key areas identified by the Caribbean Community Reparations Commission: chronic diseases, education, cultural deprivation, psychological trauma and scientific and technological backwardness.

Heads endorsed the initiative to erect at a place of prominence and accessibility at the United Nations Headquarters, a permanent memorial in honour of the victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade.

Leaders also agreed to the Draft Special Declaration on Nuclear Disarmament and to Support the Fight Against Terrorism in all its forms and manifestations.

The Heads ended the II Summit with a Draft Proclamation of Latin America and the Caribbean as a Zone of Peace in which they reiterated the urgent need of General and Complete Nuclear Disarmament, as well as the commitment with the Strategic Agenda of the Organization for the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons in Latin America and the Caribbean (OPANAL), adopted by the 33 Member States of the Organization in the General Conference which was held in Buenos Aires, Argentina in August, 2013.

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