Basseterre, St. Kitts – Nevis, May 30th 2007 (CUOPM)
The Republic of Cuba has reaffirmed its strong commitment to building economic, social and cultural ties with the nations of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).
This affirmation has come from Cuba’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, His Excellency Felipe Perez and his delegation during last week’s OECS Heads of Government Meeting in Grenada.
“The Minister reaffirmed Cuba’s strong commitment to building economic, social and cultural ties with the OECS and pledged his country’s continued support for the region through the maintenance and expansion of a number of cooperation projects,” the communique issued at the end of the meeting stated.
The Cuban Minister announced that his Caribbean nation will continue the Miracle Eye project which allows Cuban doctors to perform eye surgeries, but patients will now have the operations conducted in their home island, reducing the need to travel to Havana.“One in every 58 OECS nationals were tested during the first phase of the project, and 9,799 received operations,” said the communique.
Cuba also announced support for the fight against HIV/AIDS with the award of 25 post graduate scholarships to OECS nationals involved in work related to the fight against HIV/AIDS.
Under the energy saving initiatives, Cuba has already installed more than 700,000 energy saving light bulbs in homes across the OECS including St. Kitts and Nevis and has offered to provide new bulbs to sustain the energy saving initiative at cost price.
According to the communique, as part of its annual scholarship programme, Cuba is offering 130 scholarships to OECS nationals outside of medicine for the 2007-2008 academic year.
Cuba announced a plan to establish a special medical training facility in Cuba specifically for Eastern Caribbean students, with an enrollment of up to four hundred and will also develop health facilities by assisting with the development, equipping and staffing of Diagnostic Centres in Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica and St. Vincent and the Grenadines, an Eyesight Centre in St. Lucia, and the reconstruction of the main hospital in Grenada.
St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister and other OECS leaders expressed their gratitude for the ongoing show of friendship by the Cuban government and people and extended best wishes for the continued speedy recovery of President His Excellency Dr. Fidel Castro. Heads further agreed that the OECS should examine ways in which the sub-region can make practical responses to Cuba’s generosity, despite its insistence that it is seeking nothing in return.