"Strength in Unity: Securing the Future of Caribbean Integration" Address by Hon. Dickon Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada at the XXII ALBA-TCP Summit, Havana, Cuba

"Strength in Unity: Securing the Future of Caribbean Integration"

Address by Hon. Dickon Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada

at the XXII ALBA-TCP Summit, Havana, Cuba

It is my great honour to address this, the 22nd ALBA-TCP Summit on behalf of the Government and people of Grenada.

I am especially pleased to be in Havana for the first time and I must express sincere gratitude to the Government and people of Cuba for the warm hospitality extended to my delegation and for the care taken to plan and host this meeting.

As we commemorate the 18th anniversary of the founding of this noble organisation, I wish to place on record Grenada’s commitment to the core principles of ALBA-TCP and assure all member states of our shared passion and support.

Brothers and sisters, the need for deeper cooperation and collaboration amongst our nations has never been greater. On the heels of a global pandemic, and as international tensions continue to rise, resulting in inflated costs and disrupted supply chains, the very real threat of poverty looms over many of our people.

Though our individual priorities may differ, the core of our cause remains firm equality, social justice, and high quality of life for all our peoples.

Healthcare Support

Grenada remains deeply indebted to the Government and people of the Republic of Cuba for the invaluable and ongoing support provided to our healthcare sector, especially during the extraordinary challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. We also thank the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for their support in augmenting our scarce medical resources during this difficult time.

For small island states, these challenges are set against the ackdrop of climate change and the devastating potential of each hurricane season to destroy years of economic progress within a mere matter of hours.

Solidarity on Climate Change

I thank the organisation for recognising the right of Caribbean countries to fair, special and differential treatment, given our unique challenges as small islands. I also acknowledge the organisation’s solidarity and support as we seek to hold

developed countries accountable for their role in the climate crisis and gain just compensation for our significant loss and damages due to climate change.

In this regard, allow me to also extend sincere gratitude to the Government and people of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela for their unwavering humanitarian support in the immediate aftermath of some of the Caribbean’s most damaging natural disasters in recent years. In 2017 alone, the Venezuelan civilian-military

rescue and humanitarian assistance brigade provided critical aid to the people of the Commonwealth of Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, St. Martin, the British Virgin Islands and other Caribbean nations affected by hurricanes Irma and Maria.

The effects of climate change are not limited to our small islands, as several member states can attest. Cuba and Nicaragua also suffered significant damages with the passage of hurricanes Ian and Julia in September and October of this year, respectively. Venezuela too, was impacted by severe flooding that resulted in the loss of twenty-five (25) souls this October and Bolivia suffered flash floods in 2021 that claimed the lives of seven (7).

As a grouping, it is imperative that we continue to advocate for the lowering of carbon emissions to protect the lives and livelihoods of our people.

Solidarity Against Injustice

Another area where we must continue to stand firm is against the unfair, and quite frankly immoral, embargo against our brothers and sisters here in Cuba. Comrades, it is not enough to simply advocate for an end to the embargo, we must find avenues of collective leverage to ensure its end—through strategic alliances with other brothers and sisters throughout the world who share a similar view.

In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr: “Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere.” We equally reject Cuba’s designation by the United States as a state sponsor of terrorism and continue to stand shoulder to shoulder with the good people of Cuba in their fight to exercise the right to choose their own path.

Similarly, we look forward to the lifting of sanctions placed on the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela that continue to negatively impact the country’s advancement.

Collaborative Development

Comrades, the vision that Presidents Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez held for “Our America” is still within reach—a self-reliant region built on mutual respect and the principles of solidarity, cooperation and economic complementarity.

Together, we have the potential to drive our own development through strategic partnerships and the reorientation of our trading patterns towards greater intraregional exchanges.

Increased south-south cooperation provides avenues for the promotion of socioeconomic reform, through trade and investments and the development of joint projects and initiatives that meet our unique needs as nations.

Towards the Future

To succeed in the above, however, we need to bridge the language barrier that hinders the free flow of exchanges amongst our peoples. As we seek deeper integration, and as we prepare for a more diverse future, we are doing our people—and especially our young people—a disservice by not creating more opportunities for language and cultural exchanges.

As a young man growing up in Grenada, trips to Margarita, and Latin American countries, such as Panama, were not uncommon. It is unfortunate that we seem to be moving backward in this regard, given the limited airlift and astronomical cost of regional travel today.

Comrades, the matter of air transportation within our region needs urgent attention if we are to seriously bolster trade and promote the unification of our peoples. My colleagues within the Organisation of Eastern States (OECS) grouping are well aware of Grenada’s calls to find a sustainable solution for regional air

connectivity and I am happy to continue discussions to this end with all willing parties.

As leaders, these are the foundational structures that we need to secure so that our people can embrace the vision of a united Latin American and Caribbean region.


In conclusion, the spirit of our founding fathers, and the many great Caribbean minds that influenced this movement towards self-actualisation and selfsufficiency, continues to burn brightly in the will of our leaders and people. Our shared history of struggle and perseverance is a bond that has been forged by fire and, therefore, not easily broken.

I look forward to the organisation and our collective peoples growing from strength to strength, through increased cooperation, strengthened solidarity and a free future for us all.

Comrades, I close with the words of José Martí: “It is the time of mobilisation, of marching together, and we must go forward in

close ranks, like silver in the veins of the Andes.”

I thank you.

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