Director General of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean State (OECS) Dr Didacus Jules has lamented what he views as a missed opportunity for regional governments to tap into the trade opportunities which could have been concretised between the member states and Cuba.
Dr Jules said Caribbean countries allowed the United States’ embargo on Cuba to prevent them from developing trade links with the Spanish-speaking nation, and warned there will be great difficulty in doing this under the Donald Trump’s presidency.
He was at the time speaking on the topic “The effects of Cuba on the OECS” during a breakfast forum hosted by the Antigua & Barbuda Employers’ Federation.
“Cuba, in gratitude, has over the years given us thousands of scholarships and a whole lot of assistance in a multiplicity of areas. What have we given Cuba in return,” the director general questioned.
“We may not have much to give, but in the context of the blockade, we did not have to wait on Obama because there were collaboration agreements between Caricom and Cuba for years. We did not have to wait on Obama to open the doors for us to put our foot in the door, because we were already in the room,”
Dr Jules said the Caribbean region should have been investing strategically, building trade and other relations, because the job at hand will not be easy now that the entire world is setting its eyes on Cuba.
“In Trump’s America, the political equation may very well be reversed, and while the economic opportunity that Cuba represents to the OECS will still be there, it will be fraught with political challenges likely created by US dictation of terms. The possible withdraw of the US will test the resilience of Caribbean’s and developing countries solidarity with Cuba,” Dr Jules said.
More in today’s Daily Observer.