June 22, 2020.- Prime Minister Gaston Browne says Antigua & Barbuda will lobby and pushback against a proposed US bill targeting Cuban healthcare workers.
He notes that the recent bill introduced by Republican Senator Rick Scott which classifies Cuba’s humanitarian assistance as “human trafficking” seeks to extend punitive measures against countries accepting this medical assistance.
“They will be literally punishing countries who utilize Cuba nurses and doctors,” he said.“We think that is extremely unfortunate,”the prime minister added.
He said for over 30 years Cuban nurses and doctors have played a significant part of the health infrastructure of many Caribbean countries “and if they were to force us to get rid of these Cuban professionals then they will dismantle our health system.”
The prime minister says the Caribbean will mount a lobby against the bill.
“So as far as we concerned this bill will clearly create some challenges for Caribbean countries and we will be literally lobbying and pushing against any such decision.”
Browne also denied that acceptance of Cuban healthcare workers amounts to human trafficking.
“As far as we are concerned we are not involved in any form of human trafficking and …that is not true we do not accept it.
“We have been working with the US over the years in order to curb human trafficking, we have been cooperating fully,” he said.
Browne also wants the US Embassy in Barbados to take up the issue.
“I think it will be a very unfortunate position and I just hope that the Embassy in Barbados in particular will take up this issue with the State Department to let them know that this kind of policy is going to create a problem for Caribbean countries and undermine the good relations we enjoy with the United States.”
(Cubaminrex- Embacuba Antigua y Barbuda)