With the presence of the Minister of Education of Barbados, Ronald Jones, and an important delegation chaired by the member of the Secretariat of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cuba and Head of its Department of International Relations, José Ramón Balaguer, the Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of the West Indies (UWI), Cave Hill Campus, Professor Eudine Barriteau, and the Ambassador of Cuba, Francisco Fernández, signed two memoranda of cooperation with the Ministry of Public Health of Cuba and the University of Havana, respectively.
By highlighting that in this way the UWI honors the life and work of Fidel Castro on the first anniversary of his death, since immediately after the ceremony a two-day colloquium to analyze his legacy would be held in that same venue, the Principal emphasized that "in this way he made sure to draw lessons from the contributions of the leader of the Cuban Revolution to continue facing the struggle for our own development." She also stressed that Barbados, celebrating 51 years of its independence, "considered very important the excellent relations with Cuba, which has always been willing to contribute to the development needs of Barbados and the Caribbean."
On the other hand, Professor Barriteau expressed her high appreciation for Cuban education and health systems, "among the best in the world"; that both memoranda were going to pay excellent results both in scientific research and in the exchange of professionals and students as well. Regarding the memorandum with the University of Havana, she said that "being one of the oldest in America, with this step was going to a higher stage and higher quality." And in relation to the MINSAP, "concrete result of the visit of its Faculty of Medical Sciences to Havana, is sure of the benefits that will come first in scientific research, in sensitive areas such as biotechnology and the production of medicines advanced, such as vaccines against cancer and Heberprot-P. "
Finally, she acknowledged the work of Cuban doctors, "who are usually among the first to deploy in the face of any natural disaster in the region," and that "we in the Caribbean have a great debt of gratitude to the Cuban government for the way it has contributed permanently with the governments of the subregion.”
The Minister of Education highlighted the benefit of this step taken by the UWI due to the high quality of education and health in Cuba. And in that sense, he referred to his official visit to Cuba in 2016, which addressed many of those aspects that today are reflected in the signed documents. In particular, he referred to the capacity developed by Cuba in the face of hurricanes, which is why he considered that the academic research exchange is also relevant that extends to priority issues such as climate change.
The Ambassador, for his part, highlighted the importance of having finalized these actions for what it will mean for bilateral cooperation, and thanked in particular that the UWI had proposed to sign memoranda in the framework of such important celebrations, as they converged on the 51st anniversary of independence of Barbados, the 45th anniversary of Cuba's relations with Barbados and with CARICOM, and the first anniversary of the passage to immortality of the Commander-in-Chief, whose legacy was dedicated to the colloquium that was about to begin.
He added that precisely in response to that gesture, I felt special satisfaction because Cuba had sent a very representative delegation, both in the political aspect because of the presence of our Party in the people of Commander Balaguer and Idalmis Brooks, but because of the presence of two distinguished personalities Academics from the University of Havana, Dr. Francisca López, President of the José Martí and Fidel Castro Chairs, and Dr. Jaqueline Laguardia, from the Norman Girvan Chair. And he pointed out that the presence of both teachers was particularly relevant to the ongoing task to create the José Martí-Fidel Castro Chair in this campus, the first of its kind in the UWI, and that it would be another effort to move towards a superior cultural integration.