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US-Cuba relations to help region - Nicholson

Published:Friday | July 24, 2015 | 6:18 PM

FOREIGN AFFAIRS and Foreign Trade Minister Senator A.J. Nicholson has argued that the restored relationship between Cuba and the United States (US) will present new opportunities and frontiers not only for both countries, but also for their neighbouring friends.

"We expect that the financial measures announced and Cuba being moved from the US list of state sponsors of terrorism should help to attract greater levels of foreign investment to Cuba and, at the same time, enhance the prospects for greater dynamism in the trade and investment linkages between Jamaica and Cuba," Nicholson reasoned during his comments on the motion of adjournment in the Senate last Friday.

"It is my strong belief that Jamaica and our CARICOM partners stand to benefit from Cuba's economic advancement, as Cuba can become another engine of growth in the region," he said.

The senior government minister told his colleagues in the Senate that he was confident that the benefits that would redound to Cuba would also present opportunities for Jamaica and the Jamaican private sector. "The Government will work collaboratively with the private sector to maximise these opportunities," Nicholson added.

He described as a "momentous occasion" the official opening of the Cuban embassy in Washington DC on July 20. Of equal importance, said Nicholson, will be the raising of the American flag on August 14, 2015 at the United States embassy in Havana.


"It is rewarding that in our lifetime we have witnessed the reopening of the embassies in Washington and Havana at this critical time, when so much effort is being made to deepen relations and cooperation among the countries of our hemisphere," he said.

Acting leader of Opposition Business in the Senate, Robert Montague, said the Parliamentary Opposition was pleased with the level of friendship that was being cultivated between Cuba and the United States.

He said the Opposition is very confident that Jamaica would benefit from the warming of relations between both countries.

Government Senator Lambert Brown applauded the efforts of Cuban President Raul Castro and the initiatives of US President Barack Obama, the Canadian Government and Pope Francis in arriving at this point where both countries have renewed diplomatic ties.

However, Senator Brown saluted the "courage" of former prime minister Michael Manley, "who was not afraid to walk to the mountain top", a statement made by the charismatic leader in the 1970s in relation to his allegiance to former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, at a time when relations between the communist state and the US were hostile.