After a day and a half of negotiations, this morning Belize and Cuba officially endorsed a new agreement for partnerships in 2006. According to Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Eamon Courtenay, Belize can never repay Cuba for its contributions to the areas of health and education.
Eamon Courtenay, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
“The relations between Cuba and Belize are marked by concrete manifestations of good works between two countries. The relations between most countries in the world is characterized by the niceties of diplomacy and the courtesies of talk. The work of the commission, mixed commission over the past two days is a true and clear manifestation of action. The points that we have agreed in agriculture, in home affairs, in education, in culture, in health are all of absolute importance to Belize. And indeed the fact that Cuba having regard to its present economic situation is able to help us in this way underlines for us true solidarity between our countries and our people. For which I would like on behalf of the government and people of Belize to regard our sincerest thanks and gratitude.”
“We stand ready as small as we are to provide assistance to Cuba in anyway we can. Your unconditional support for our struggle for independence, and your continued commitment to our territorial integrity and sovereignty is indeed another example of your solidarity with Belize on the international scene. We equal and match the commitment from Cuba by our unconditional respect for the right of the people of Cuba, and indeed the right for the people in any country.”
Loretta Blanco, Vice Minister, Foreign Trade and Cooperation
“We would like to have the commitment with the Belizean people and government that in continuing with the cooperation and contribution that Cuba has been rendering to this country. So this is a joint commitment. Though we are two underdeveloped countries, we should be engaged in continuing to develop these relationships so that in 2007, we will be in a condition to increase this cooperation.”
The signing ceremony between Courtenay and Vice Minister Loretta Blanco was part of official closing ceremonies for the ninth Belize Cuba mixed commission. Members of the local delegation included officials from the Ministry of Culture and representatives from the Social Security Board. Both are confident that bi-lateral relations with Cuba will benefit Belizeans in very tangible ways.
Andy Palacio, Deputy Administrator, NICH
“We welcome the corporation arrangement with Cuba very much because Cuba offers a lot of programmers and activities we can get involved in. There are several institutions that conduct the kind of work that our institutes here in Belize conduct and we can learn from their experiences and benefit from their expertise.”
Dalila Castillo, Assistant General Manager, S.S.B.
“What we are looking at mainly is one medical treatment for employment injury cases. You all know that Cuba offers very good medical care, and we sometimes need to send our patients that suffer employment injuries abroad for treatment. So that’s one area that we are looking at, and we are also looking at some technical assistants in training in certain areas that would support the improvement of the quality of services that are provided both to employment injury patients within Social Security and also the services provided through the N.H.I.”
Channel 5 Belize