Remarks by Grenada’s Prime Minister Dr the Right Honourable Keith Mitchell
XX ALBA-TCP Summit Havana, Cuba
14 December 2021
Sisters and brothers
Good morning. It is with great honour that I address this meeting on behalf of the Government and people of Grenada. I am particularly pleased to be in Cuba. It has been several years since my last visit. Notwithstanding, I must acclaim the longstanding fraternal ties between Grenada and Cuba and the member countries of ALBA-TCP.
I wish to express my profound thanks to the Government and people of Cuba, for the warm hospitality and excellent efforts in hosting this very important meeting, at a time when the Covid-19 pandemic continues to present a formidable challenge to our governments and people.
The ongoing pandemic has resulted in severe economic and financial impacts, forcing governments to invest additional resources in widespread testing, contact tracing, isolation and treatment. For Grenada in particular, to counter the negative impact of the pandemic on the livelihoods of our people, Government has provided economic stimulus support for the most vulnerable, especially those working in the informal economy.
Allow me to express at this time, sincere gratitude to Venezuela and Cuba for their extraordinary assistance to our country in the areas of logistics, materials, equipment and the deployment of a medical mission from Cuba to assist us in fighting Covid-19. The solidarity you have shown even as you face your own domestic issues, is commendable, and we appreciate the alliance we share.
As we commemorate the 17th anniversary of the founding of this organisation, I wish to reaffirm Grenada’s commitment to the core principles of ALBA-TCP and assure all member states of our willingness to work together for the good of all.
Grenada regards equity as the key to a sustainable recovery. Public policy in member states of ALBA must therefore address poverty reduction. In Grenada, equality and social cohesion are placed at the centre of my Government’s post-Covid agenda.
Grenada has benefitted from the range of social and economic assistance given by ALBA-TCP. Earlier on this year, our country joined the Bank of ALBA, because we were convinced of the positive benefits to be derived from the actions undertaken on behalf of its members.
Going forward as a grouping, there are a number of priority areas which must be considered for definitive action – climate change, the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, enhancing South-South Cooperation, the rule of law, the promotion of peace and security and the role of our youth and women in attaining economic growth, peaceful and safe societies for all.
For further progress in these areas, there is need to strengthen this organisation through solidarity, cooperation and partnership. Our united strength will help in the delivery of the economic, social and political benefits that our people expect, and certainly deserve.
Only a few days ago, I highlighted the need for the Caribbean to remain a zone of peace and I wish to reaffirm, in this setting, our commitment to this objective. We reiterate our support in the designation of the Caribbean as a special area, and to protect the unique biodiversity and highly fragile ecosystems of the area, and to sensitise the world about the significance of this marine space for the livelihood and economic survival of the people of the Caribbean.
Grenada will also continue to vigorously call for the total lifting of the commercial and financial embargo against Cuba, as this negatively impacts the beautiful and generous people of this country. We also note with concern the designation of Cuba as a state sponsor of terrorism.
As a small island developing state, our foreign policy is an essential asset as we pursue development through the conscious effort of our nation, people, friends and allies.
We stress the importance of solidarity and cooperation in addressing the needs of our fellow Caribbean countries, particularly as we seek to recover and rebuild following the devastating impact of Covid-19 and strengthen our efforts in ensuring the sustainable development of our country and people.
Sisters and brothers, cooperation and solidarity are among the key cornerstones of this organisation and we have a multitude of examples that demonstrate this. We applaud the efforts of ALBA-TCP in support of the people of St Vincent and the Grenadines in the aftermath of the eruption of Soufriere volcano.
Natural disasters continue to wreak havoc on our countries and our people and as such, we continue to advocate for concrete action in the fight against climate change and concrete implementation of the Paris Agreement, and recent accords adopted at the Glasgow summit.
I use this opportunity to make a general call for goodwill, solidarity, dialogue and creative and decisive actions to advance our development agenda. In the context of our common ambition, we, therefore, welcome the implementation of recent actions of ALBA-TCP:
- Undertaking initiatives in public health and socio-economic responses
- Working to ensure that diagnostics, treatment and vaccines are accessible to all.
- Developing alternatives to enhance collaboration among the members of ALBA, in helping to restart our economies by public investments in health and education systems, physical infrastructure, social protections and expansion of social services that boost productive employment and produce sustainable growth.
- Promoting science and technology to assist in the prevention and treatment of this virus.
Sisters and brothers, we must also give greater attention to trade among our member states as we seek to develop new ways of producing goods and services.
We must recognise that it is through our cooperation and solidarity that we will achieve the future we want for our people.
The ongoing push towards sustainable development and the challenges of Covid-19 have highlighted the value of solidarity and collective action.
As we go forth to strengthen the implementation of our initiatives and goals, I encourage us to maintain the commitment, hard work and dedication that have so far contributed to the growth of this organisation. We recognise too, the value of stronger partnerships, an increased focus on communication and dialogue, greater inclusion of youth and women in our movement, and the deepening of our people to people ties.
In closing, we stress our unwavering commitment to strengthening our common ties in promoting sustainable development, solidarity, equality, tolerance and respect for all.
I thank you.