Jamaica’s Prime Minister Speaks out on Castro’s Death

He remembered Fidel Castro for his revolutionary leadership and guidance of the Cuban State, and said that “he will go down in the annals of history as one of the leaders who, though coming from a Caribbean island developing state, has had the greatest impact on world history”.

Cuba's Fidel CastroPrime Minister Holness, who has been the Prime Minister of Jamaica since 3 March following the 25 February 2016 general elections, wrote to Cuban President Raul Castro and extended “deep sympathies on behalf of Jamaica”.

“The Government and people of Jamaica join me in extending to you, the entire Castro family and the Government and people of Cuba our deepest condolence on this occasion,” Holness said.

He was joined by  former Prime Minister PJ Patterson who also paid tribute to former Cuban President Fidel Castro, who they described as a true friend of Jamaica, and thanked him and his Government for their generous assistance in the areas of health, education, and agriculture.

He remembered Fidel Castro for his revolutionary leadership and guidance of the Cuban State, and said that “he will go down in the annals of history as one of the leaders who, though coming from a Caribbean island developing state, has had the greatest impact on world history”.

Holness said that many Jamaicans still vividly remember Castro’s visits to Jamaica and his passionate speeches in defense of the right to self-determination.Andrew Holness

He noted the bilateral relationship between Jamaica and Cuba, mainly in the fields of health and education, and said that “Cuba was also a leading champion of strong south-south outreach and cooperation”.

“His building of excellent education and health systems in Cuba has become an outstanding model for the world. The people of Jamaica remain deeply appreciative of the significant contribution that Cuban medical personnel continue to make to the Jamaica health services, through a process of technical cooperation initiated under the leadership of President Castro,” Holness said.

Portia Lucretia Simpson-Miller, former Prime Minister of Jamaica also expressed condolence to President Raul Castro, his relatives and the Cuban people.

“Walk good my friend, El Comandante Fidel. Viva! Aluta continua! Victoria acerta!” she said.

Describing Castro as “a great leader and consummate friend of Jamaica”, Simpson Miller said that the late Cuban leader, despite being born into material comfort, dedicated his education, training and his whole life to the struggle for Cuba’s social and economic revolution, and the liberation of the Cuban people from poverty, landlessness, housing insecurity, ignorance, and ill-health.

“Through his efforts, today Cuba stands as a proud Caribbean beacon of quality education and training of an entire nation and a first-rate health care system, among other social advances,” she stated.

“Despite the injustice of a decades-old economic embargo, Fidel Castro steered his country towards economic self-sufficiency and boldly asserted Cuba’s political independence and national pride. He embodied the energy, resilience, creativity and kindness of the people of Cuba,“ the Opposition leader continued.

According to Simpson Miller, she will always remember “his words of wisdom” to her, as well as his “internationalism and the willingness of his Government and the Cuban people to share their modest resources and social successes with the rest of the world, in particular, other less developed countries in the Caribbean, Latin America and Africa”.

Patterson expressed regret at Castro’s passing and described him as “one of the greatest political and world leaders of our time”.

According to Patterson, issues of humanity were Castro’s primary cause and which he pursued with relentless vigor of mind and body throughout his life.

“Although his homeland Cuba was where he made his most seminal contribution to government and governance, his lifelong struggle was not confined to Cuba, but was also manifested in his progressive international foreign policy which impacted numerous countries,” Patterson stated.

“Jamaica was a significant beneficiary of Fidel Castro’s and the Government of the Republic of Cuba’s international contribution. We can be proud of the many Jamaicans who benefited, and continue to benefit from education in Cuba, especially our Cuban-trained doctors; the construction of GC Foster College of Physical Education and Sport which has produced numerous sport coaches who have helped to shape and harness our athletic talents,” Patterson said.

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