Prime Minister and Cuban Ambassador sendoff Antiguan and Barbudan youths who will study in Cuba

St. John’s, August 26, 2016.  On the morning of Friday 26th August, 8 new students who are the recipients of scholarships granted by the Government of Cuba to study medicine and health technology in Cuba for the year 2016-2017 were sent off from Antigua and Barbuda. 

The emotive ceremony at the headquarters of the Government of Antigua and Barbuda was chaired by the Prime Minister of that Caribbean Island, the Honorable Gaston Browne and the Ambassador of Cuba, Gustavo Veliz Olivares.

In his speech the Prime Minister thanked the Government of Cuba for the opportunity provided to nationals of Antigua and Barbuda for graduate studies in Cuba and in turn acquiring Spanish language skills.  He stressed that the fellowship program with Cuba is the oldest for Antigua and Barbuda, and under which more than 200 Antiguan and Barbudan professionals have been trained in Cuba in different specialties.  The Antiguan leader also said that his Government gives priority to training program of fellows in Cuba, China and other countries, as warranty associated with the future of Antigua and Barbuda. He stressed that Antigua and Barbuda can become an intellectual power in the Caribbean as a result of the formation of human capital through the system of scholarships in different countries.

In his speech the Antiguan leader criticized the policy of the blockade imposed by the United States against Cuba for more than five decades, despite the almost overwhelming rejection of the same in the United Nations.  He called for the return of the Guantanamo Naval Base and said Antigua and Barbuda is a friend in "the good times and the bad times" and that Cuba would be able to continue to count on the support of Antigua and Barbuda in the United Nations, the ACS and other international forums. 

The Cuban Ambassador in his speech recalled that although there is re-established diplomatic relations with the United States, the blockade remains intact and Cuba has not been able to conduct transactions in US dollars among other limitations and sanctions against its development.  He stressed that in spite of the sanctions, Cuba will continue its policy of cooperation with the brotherly peoples of the Caribbean, which are an expression of the grants which again benefit the students of Antigua and Barbuda.

The students signed their Code of Ethics and were given the ballot corresponding to them being confirmed as new entrants to the Cuban system of higher education.

Also present at the activity was Maurice Merchant, Director of  Communication and Scholarships in the Office of the Prime Minister, Counselor Gilda Lopez and Dr. Daymarelis Ortega, Head of the Medical Brigade.