From 2023, October 6 will be known as Caribbean Day Against Terrorism.
This announcement was made on Tuesday by Prime Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines Dr Ralph Gonsalves during a wreath-laying ceremony at the Cubana Monument in Payne’s Bay, St James, which was erected in memory of the 73 people who died when a Cubana Airlines flight was destroyed in a terrorist bomb attack on October 6, 1976. It went down in Barbados’ waters.
Addressing the gathering that included Prime Minister Mia Mottley, Cuba’s President Miguel Diaz-Canel, President of Guyana Dr Irfaan Ali, and other dignitaries, Gonsalves said that after much consultation among Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders, a decision was made to mark the day as significant.
“Today at the CARICOM-Cuba Summit, at the initiative of the esteemed Prime Minister of Barbados, the summit accepted that a declaration be made that, henceforth, October the 6th will be known as the Caribbean Day Against Terrorism.
“This Caribbean family includes the Republic of Cuba. So anytime anyone says that Cuba is a sponsor of state terrorism, October 6th shall be henceforth etched in the memory of everyone in the Caribbean and the global community, that this day was so declared because of the terrorism that was directed against Cuba and its citizens,” said Gonsalves who is among regional Heads of Government here for the Eighth CARICOM-Cuba Summit.
Meanwhile, Barbados’ Ambassador to CARICOM David Comissiong stressed that CARICOM and Cuba are a family. He said that despite some pressures from international powers, the bond remained strong.
“We are a functional, conscious family, [and] whatever fate befalls you, it simply makes you stronger. Today, we commemorate that wonderful triumph in 1972 when we established diplomatic relations that made us stronger.
“Those who thought that that would weaken us and drive us apart, we are here to tell them that they were wrong. It only made us stronger as a family. This Cubana Monument is testimony to the strength of that Cuban and CARICOM family,” Comissiong said.
Dr Ali said his nation still remembered the lives of the Guyanese who were among the victims of the terrorist attack.
“We remember forever the 73 victims, including 11 Guyanese, who perished as a result of that dastardly act. They will hold a special place in our hearts and in our region for having innocently paid the supreme sacrifice. In their memories, hundreds of other Guyanese successfully completed medical studies in Cuba. This is the strength of solidarity, this is the strength of family, this is a strength of commitment, this is a strength of human dignity,” he said.
“Cuba, Guyana, CARICOM, did not succumb to terrorism, did not fall to terrorism, but grew stronger and built better relationships and advanced human dignity.” (SB)