Premier Andrew Fahie said he hopes the presence of the 22 Cuban medical professions who are in the British Virgin Islands for the next three months, will further strengthen ties between the territory and the Spanish-speaking country.
The medical brigade consisting of internist doctors, emergency-response doctors, intensive care specialists and nurses trained in infectious diseases arrived at the TB Lettsome International Airport on Beef Island on Saturday, two days after they were initially slated to arrive.
They are currently in quarantine at the Sugar Mill Hotel in Apple Bay for the next two weeks before they can be tested and given the green light to join the rest of the medical team at the BVI Health Services Authority.
“We are indeed thankful to the Republic of Cuba. This is a historic day in the BVI. Long live our relationship medically and otherwise and long live us, together as brothers and sisters in the Caribbean,” Premier Fahie said while delivering a welcome address on Saturday.
He continued: “We want to learn from you, and you learn from us so that when we are finished, we continue to strengthen our ties not only in medical but also as one Caribbean people. We have a long history with Cuba where we have many of our citizens in the earlier years who went to Cuba, and some of their children were born in Cuba like the O’Neal’s and some of the Flax’s, and then, later on, they came back. But, this is the first time that the BVI is officially welcoming a delegation from Cuba and for that, we say a warm BVI welcome to each of you.”
The Premier also said the BVI is the second British Overseas Territory to receive this delegation from Cuba. The first was the Turks & Caicos Islands, and Montserrat is expected to follow suit.
Being proactive in COVID-19 fight
Fahie said the presence of the Cubans is the territory’s way of being proactive in the fight against the Novel Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19).
“An ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure. We want to stay in a proactive state of preparedness because COVID-19 is not playing around with us and we will not play around with COVID-19,” he stated.
“We have long been aware that Cuba is a centre for excellence in treating various diseases, and have been a partner for many countries in the region in the area of health care. We are happy to move in this direction as well, we do so in an effort to augment the capacity of the team of really good health care professionals currently in the BVI Health Services Authority to ensure that the territory is able to deal with any situation which may occur as we continue the cautious phased reopening of our borders since they were closed due to COVID-19.”
Cuba has deployed teams of medical doctors and nurses both regionally and internationally since the pandemic.
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