As he gave special thanks to the governments of Cuba and Venezuela for helping regional countries in their COVID-19 fight, Dominica’s Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit urged member nations of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) to focus on finding solutions to the myriad problems facing the region.
Addressing the 6th Summit of Heads of State and Government of CELAC on Saturday, he said Cuba’s assistance, in particular, has been significant.
“Without Cuba, every single Caribbean country would have had great difficulty in fighting this COVID pandemic. We have Cuban doctors and nurses and technicians working in our hospitals, ensuring that we can do everything possible to keep people alive – those who have been infected by COVID-19,” he said.
“We also want to thank the heroic people of Venezuela who in all of their challenges with the sanctions, have been able to reach out to us with PPEs and testing kits when many of us in the Caribbean were running very low or were unable to accessing those testing kits and PPEs because they were blocked in other parts of the world.”
He also commended Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador for “reviving CELAC” and expressed gratitude for that country’s solidarity with Dominica and the rest of the Caribbean.
Identifying the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change, unemployment, poverty and achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as among the challenges confronting nations in the 33-member regional bloc, Prime Minister Skerrit urged CELAC to redirect energies to solving these problems.
“I believe that among us in Latin America and the Caribbean we can find solutions to these problems because we have the capacity,” the Dominican leader said.
“We have been through struggles before. Our forefathers fought for independence and we now must fight for the independence of our own societies and the independence for our own people by empowering them with the tools to survive as independent people.”
Skerrit was adamant that regional countries could only overcome their challenges by working together.