Front Page
January 21, 2005

Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves has described as “very successful” his just concluded five-day visit to Cuba.

Dr. Gonsalves told local media Tuesday the level of success could be gauged not only from the atmospherics but from the practical decisions coming out of discussions with Cuban officials.{{more}}

According to the Prime Minister, among the practical decisions taken was the establishment of a Cuban embassy in this country and the setting up of a St. Vincent and the Grenadines consulate in Cuba. He said in order to cut costs he would explore the possibility of sharing office space with either the Grenadian or St. Lucian consulates in Cuba.

He said the St. Lucian Consul General had been assisting Vincentian students in Cuba whenever they had problems that were immediate but did not require the assistance of this country’s formal ambassador to Cuba, Ellsworth John.

“So, the establishment of the embassy in St. Vincent and the Grenadines by Cuba is a significant achievement,” Dr. Gonsalves stated.

Dr. Gonsalves also stated that the relations between this country and Cuba were “very warm” and the discussions held were “very extensive”.

Another practical decision coming out of Dr. Gonsalves’ visit to Cuba is the tremendous support in the area of education. He said Cuba will assist this country’s literacy crusade and that more scholarships have been made available.

The Prime Minister reported that President Fidel Castro gave the assurance that he would accommodate any amount of Vincentian students who wished to study in Cuba.

He also said that there are now three scholarships available for art students and three for students who wish to pursue a career in music.

Dr. Gonsalves further indicated his interest in expanding the capacity to learn and teach Spanish as a second language. He said there is an offer for 100 persons to go to Cuba to study Spanish with a view to teaching the language in schools.

The Prime Minister said Cuba would be sending 1000 television sets to assist the literacy crusade and his government would be exploring the possibility of setting up a channel dedicated especially for education.

Another practical decision coming out of the visit was that a three-member technical team from Cuba is to arrive in this country by this weekend. According to Dr. Gonsalves, the team will be reviewing plans and assisting in the assessment of the proposed airport to be constructed at Argyle.

He said one member of that technical team has actually been involved in the construction of the airport in Grenada.