Barbados has reaffirmed its commitment to the fight against all acts of terrorism and manifestations in accordance with the United Nations Charter and the tenets of international law.
Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Stephen Lashley also reiterated Government’s “unwavering solidarity” with Cuba against acts of terrorism and injustice as the two countries observed the anniversary of the bombing of Cubana Flight 455 which exploded shortly after take off from Barbados on October 6, 1976, killing 73 people.
“Today is a solemn day, a day when we honour the victims and strengthen our resolve to fight against terrorism as a family of nations. It also serves as a reminder to all of us, of the daunting challenges which the heroic people of Cuba have had to endure since Cuba embarked on its social and political revolution in 1959,” Lashley said in remarks at the wreath laying ceremony at the Cubana Memorial in Paynes Bay, St James this afternoon.
Lashley said this devastation was a wake-up call for all Barbadians that even though “we are a peace-loving nation, that does not make us immune from the callous actions of criminals which can, without warning, come to our shores.”
He said in March this year, he visited Cuba and went to the school of Martyrs of Barbados – named for the victims of Cubana 455 – where he witnessed first-hand Cuba’s commitment to excellence in the training of its young athletes for competition at the highest level. He said this was a testament to the country’s unwavering determination that the victims of Cubana 455 – the Martyrs for Cuba’s revolution – should never ever be forgotten.
“On my visit, I made a promise that as a token of our continued friendship that Barbados will fund a new sign to be erected outside of the school. I’m pleased to say that the sign will soon be shipped to Cuba for mounting,” he said.
In attendance at the event were Francisco Fernández, Ambassador of the Republic of Cuba to Barbados; Jose Gomez, Ambassador of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela to Barbados and Dean of the Diplomatic Corps; and other diplomats.
Fernández, in a passionate speech, spoke about the hurt and pain the tragedy brought upon his nation, and thanked Barbados for its support.
“We greatly appreciate that the Government, the Parliament and the people of Barbados, our colleagues of the Diplomatic Corps have joined us this day of claim, remembrance, reflection and tribute to those fallen here, highlighting the belief that a better world is possible but we have to build it together,” Fernández said.