By Huntley Medley
ST JOHN’S, Antigua -- The government of Jamaica has made it clear that the recent ban by consumer goods distributor, PriceSmart, on Cuban diplomats shopping at that establishment ran counter to the non-discrimination provisions, not only of Jamaican law and constitution, but also the laws and constitutions of other Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member states.
Senator A.J. Nicholson
The position of the Jamaican government was conveyed by minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, Senator A.J. Nicholson, during an exchange involving CARICOM heads of government and the minister of foreign affairs of Cuba, Bruno Rodriques Parilla.
This exchange took place during the morning business session of the final day of the 35th meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government in Antigua.
Expressing the views of the Jamaican government, Nicholson said the unfortunate ban was one of the worst forms of the extraterritorial application of United States law.
He noted that Jamaica worked strenuously within the institutions of CARICOM to have the matter dealt with.
“We were committed within the Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) of CARICOM, that this invidious situation could not stand and we would have been willing to seek audience with the attorney general of the United States on this matter,” the minister said.
He reiterated Jamaica’s commitment to deepening relations with Cuba and noted that several economic, technical and cultural programmes continue to be pursued in the interest of the people of both Cuba and Jamaica, as is the case involving the people of several other CARICOM member countries.
The Cuban foreign minister conveyed the appreciation of the government and people of Cuba to CARICOM for having displayed solidarity with the Cuban government on the PriceSmart issue, among several other international relations matters.
Plans are currently underway for the hosting of the fifth CARICOM-Cuba summit in Havana, Cuba, on December 8 this year.