Opposition Barbados Labour Party spokesman Mia Mottley wants Government to offer Cuban students the opportunity to study at the University of the West Indies campus here.
She made the suggestion today in the House of Assembly, saying such reciprocity was justified by the technical and economic assistance Cuba had offered Barbados over the years.
This included numerous opportunities for Barbadians to pursue studies in the larger Caribbean country.
“The Government of Barbados should be offering the Cuba government the opportunity for persons to attend the University of the West Indies in exchange, because development is only real when it is equal and when both parties give and receive…,” the St. Michael North East MP stated.
“By absolute economic standards we are a smaller economy, but it does not mean that there are not Cuban students who value the ability to learn English and to understand how an English speaking CARICOM state functions.
“That is to their benefit as well in terms of their negotiation of commerce and diplomatic relations with the global community, particularly given the dominance of the English speaking nations of the world.”
The former opposition leader said she looked forward to “the platform for technical and economic cooperation reflecting that kind of movement on both sides”.
“We forget that we offered scholarships and ironically coming out of this same effort with Cuba to help southern African in its liberation struggles that we offered scholarships at the (Barbados) Community College to Namibians and to other people for a number of years,” she said.
“And I believe that one of the dangers of going through a period of economic strife such as we are, and economic challenges, is that you tend to forget that it’s a society and a country is first rooted by its values and that is really the genius of Fidel Castro.”
The former Minister of Economic Development also said that “part from technical and economic cooperation I believe that there has to be a greater effort for the development of joint investment opportunities between the Cuban people and the Barbadian people, both in Cuba and Barbados and the wider Caribbean”.
“We have to be able to reflect in formal ways now how we can raise the levels of investment,” she said. (SC)