PM calls for more trade between SVG and Cuba
September 17, 2010
PM calls for more trade between SVG and Cuba

This country’s prime minister has discussed with top Cuban officials the need for more trade in goods and services between St.Vincent and the Grenadines and Cuba.{{more}}

To this end, Gonsalves, at a press conference on Monday, September 13, said he met last week with Cuba’s Vice President Esteban Lazo Hernandez and Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez Parrilla.

“It’s an aspect of our relationship which is undeveloped,” said Gonsalves to the media.

He recalled taking a number of businessmen to Cuba in 2001, but admitted that a lot has changed in Cuba since then with increased business activities.

Gonsalves stated that maybe the time has come for either a visit to this country by Cuban entrepreneurs or for St.Vincent and the Grenadines to mount a mission to Cuba. This is expected to be on the agenda when Gonsalves has his first meeting with the new Cuban Ambassador to St.Vincent and the Grenadines, Pablo Rodriguez.

While in Cuba, Gonsalves said he had policy meetings with several Cuban officials, as well as a meeting with 12 Vincentian students.

Among the officials he met were leaders of the Cuban Civil Aviation Institute. Coming out from that meeting was the decision to have additional technical personnel from this institute travel to St.Vincent and the Grenadines later this month or early October to assist with the Argyle International Airport.

The Prime Minister also held discussions on the ‘Lives to Live Programme’. He said it was agreed that additional work will be done on the ALBA initiative, which concentrates on children, youth and older folks who have mental or physical disabilities. Prior to this meeting, close to 40 Cuban health specialists journeyed to St.Vincent and the Grenadines and conducted a survey along with health personnel here on the issue of disability.

The survey discovered that there were approximately 2,500 Vincentians with mental and physical disabilities.

“In this country…we tend to look at these beautiful people with jaundiced eyes. Some families take care of them quite well, but some families have them living in the shadows.

“They keep them very often in a room, which is darkened. They feed them in a way in which they would feed animals. There are some people who treat their challenged family members like that,” said Gonsalves, adding thankfully some of the worst treatment is declining.

The Prime Minister said the initiative intends to address the medical, social, psychological and physical treatment of the persons with the disabilities.(HN)