Dr. Jerome Walcott, Barbadian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, chaired the government delegation that attended the reception organized by the Embassy of Cuba to farewell the head of mission, Francisco Fernandez, and the consul Ana Labaut de Dios, at the end their four years of a fruitful tour of duty in this friendly country. The Ministers of the Interior, Health, Youth and Community Affairs, the President of the Supreme Court of Justice, Vice Ministers and Directors of State agencies accompanied the Chancellor. Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps as well as representatives of the UN and CARICOM agencies resident in Bridgetown, were together with personalities from academia, business and representatives of the various social organizations that make up the active movement of solidarity with Cuba.
Feature Address by the Hon. Senator. Dr. Jerome Walcott, J.P., Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados, on the occasion of the farewell reception to mark the end of the tour of duty of H.E. Dr. Francisco Fernández Peña, Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to Barbados.- The Hon. Sir Marston Gibson, Chief Justice of Barbados, members of Cabinet of Barbados, Your Excellency Dr. Francisco Fernández Peña, Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba in Barbados and Mrs. Ana Labaut de Dios, Ambassadors, Heads of Mission, the Dean and other Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps, members of the Cuban Community in Barbados, distinguished guests, good afternoon all.- Ambassador Fernández, it is my great pleasure to be here today and to be joining with this wide cross-section of the Barbadian community for the sole purpose of bidding you and your very supportive wife Ana a fond farewell, as you end your assignment in Barbados. Over the past four years, we have all become your friends. So, for us, it is an occasion of pleasure but with a tinge of sadness to see you go. I believe the same is true for you.
Based on the initiatives discussed with Professor Dra. V Eudine Barriteau, Pro Vice Chancellor and Principal of the University of the West Indies Cave Hill Campus, which led to the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the University of Havana, initiated in Barbados last November, within the framework of the International Colloquium on Fidel's Legacy, a Working Group was created to work between several UWI Faculties and the Ambassador of Cuba, Francisco Fernandez, promoting several initiatives that, when implemented under the provisions of the aforementioned MOU, have raised the framework of cooperation, academic exchanges, attendance at events of both institutions, and in this context has been proposed the establishment of a Chair of Studies that will pay tribute to the largest Caribbean socio-cultural integration, starting from the thought and the life-work of those two top arquitects of the Cuban Revolution, also recognized as the two most universal Cuban thinkers.
The Deputy Speaker of the House of the Barbadian Parliament, the Honorable Gline Clarke, received the Cuban Ambassador, Francisco Fernández, to discuss initiatives aimed at improving the inter-parliamentary relations between both countries, including the possible establishment of a Parliamentary Friendship Group that will help to implement further actions in favor of bilateral relations. In addition, it was agreed to work on a draft resolution of solidarity with Cuba ratifying the historic support for its struggle for lifting the unilateral and genocide US blockade. On the eve of the vote session on the draft Cuban resolution against the blockade in the UN General Assembly, on October 31, the Ambassador delivered the call made by the National Assembly of People´s Power to all parliaments and friendship groups in the world to speak out before the aggressive escalation of the Trump Administration, which has introduced several amendments with the purpose of annulling the Cuban resolution that has received for twenty-six consecutive years almost unanimous support from the international community.
In a solemn ceremony presided over by several ministers and high officials of the government of Barbados, civil society organizations and the accredited diplomatic corps, tribute was paid to the victims of the terrorist attack against the CU-455 flight of CUBANA on October 6, 1976 on the west coasts of this Caribbean island. The Minister of Foreign Trade in the Chancellery, Cheryl Sandra Husbands, the Minister of the Environment, Trevor Prescod, and the Deputy Foreign Minister of Foreign Affairs, Simone Rudder, accompanied Cuban Ambassador Francisco Fernández to lay a wreath in remembrance of the victims. The General Consul of Guyana, Cita Pilgrim, the Secretary General of the Barbados-Cuba Friendship Association, David Denny, and Yaima Payne, president of the Association of Cuban Residents "Mártires de Barbados", also took the floor to condemn terrorism and express their condolences to the relatives of the 73 civilians killed in that despicable sabotage.