Malachia Fontenelle, Ambassador of Saint Lucia to Cuba, speaking to Granma International, reaffirmed her country’s willingness to strengthen relations with the largest island of the Antilles.
The diplomat highlighted the existence of bilateral cooperation agreements benefiting both countries, including those which have seen youth from Saint Lucia come to study different professions in Cuban universities, chiefly at the Latin American School of Medicine (ELAM).
She also emphasized the many people from her country who have received medical treatment in Cuban institutions, and praised the extraordinary health promotion and disease prevention work being carried out by a medical brigade from the island, offering healthcare services to remote communities in Saint Lucia.
“I am an example of my own words; I studied at the University of Medical Sciences in Cienfuegos and graduated in 2008. Today, I am a doctor and feel very proud to form part of the relations between the two nations,” stated Malachia Fontenelle.
The regional official went on to highlight her government’s interest in expanding trade ties, which currently include food imports and other products from Saint Lucia which are sold in the country’s network of retail outlets; noting that new bilateral agreements should be signed shortly.
Regarding her time in Cuba as a student at ELAM, she noted that as well as her profession, she also learned Spanish and how to manage financial and material resources, in addition to meeting people who have become like family to her.
“There is much to learn from the levels of citizen safety achieved in Cuba. For example, sometimes I work late and am never afraid that I or any of my colleagues will be victims of crime,” stated Malachia Fontenelle, who went on to note the interest expressed by ministers from her country in visiting Cuba.
Meanwhile, Edmund Estepahane, Saint Lucia’s minister of Youth Development and Sports, during his first ever visit to Cuba, highlighted the warm welcome he received from Cuban authorities, who provided him with detailed information regarding the selection and training process for athletes in the country.
“I’m visiting Cuba because I want to learn about the methods applied to athletes and be able to obtain the same results as Cuba has achieved in international competitions. I think we should change the structure of this sector and place greater emphasis on the physical development of the population at the community level,” noted the minister.
He also praised progress made by Cuba in this field which has seen the island become a reference for other nations. According to Edmund Estepahane, the aim of this first visit to Cuba is to observe and learn from the island’s experiences before proposing bilateral exchanges and signing agreements.