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PM Briceno and Belizean Delegation Return from Official Trip to Cuba

Prime Minister John Briceno and a ministerial delegation returned to Belize on Saturday following an official visit to Cuba. During the visit, Prime Minister Briceno reaffirmed Belize’s friendship and solidarity with the Cuban people. After the meeting with Cuban President, Díaz-Canel Bermúdez, a health cooperation agreement in support of strengthening Belize’s healthcare system was signed. Health Minister Kevin Bernard explained to reporter Hipolito Novelo why this agreement is important.

Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: Prime Minister John Birceño, returning from an official visit to Cuba. PM Briceño who led a ministerial delegation, which included Health & Wellness Minister Kevin Bernard, held bilateral talks with Cuba’s President Miguel Mario Diáz-Canel Bermúdez which was followed by a signing of a cooperation agreement in health. Minister Benard explained, through that agreement Cuba’s assistance through the medical brigade was renewed for an additional three years. 

Kevin Bernad, Minister of Health & Wellness:Which will see more of our Belizeans having the access of opportunity in, though scholarships. But, at the same time, us having access to specialised persons coming in to assist our health system, especially at the KHMH and our rural communities because these Cubans go out into these rural communities and assist.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: Bernard held talks with Cuba’s Health Minister, Roberto Morales Ojeda, during which opportunities for both nations were identified. 

Kevin Bernad, Minister of Health & Wellness: “We discussed several opportunities for Belize. One of them being, getting more specialised persons to come into the country but at the same time giving our Belizeans opportunity to look into more other areas such as fisher therapy, social work, and having more for our young Belizeans to specialise. You know we have, every year too, we get three persons that are assisted in major surgeries to things that we cannot do in Belize, the Cuban Government has afforded us this opportunity and once again this speaks to that.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News: A crucial part of the visit was the meeting with both Heads of Governments. Belize and Cuba have a strong relationship, which according to Bernad was really strengthened by meetings held by the leaders. 

Kevin Bernad, Minister of Health & Wellness: “It was a very very lengthy but frank discussion. They exchanged that cordial friendship with each other but at the same time, signed that declaration, that declaration of support. The Belizean Government continues to support Cuba and Cuba continues to support Belize.”

Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News:  Briceño and Bernad were accompanied by Tourism Minister, Anthony Mahler, Home Affairs Minister: Kareem Musa, Foreign Affairs Minister: Eamon Courtenay and Foreign Affairs CEO, Ambassador Amalia Mai. 

Kevin Bernad, Minister of Health & Wellness: “Many of us had one on one discussions with the young Belizeans and, I mean, they are so enthusiastic. They are so happy and they are very much pleased to see the Prime Minister himself meeting with them. In fact, they have said that this is the first time they have been able to really have a one on one with so many ministers of Government.” 

Hipolito Novelo, Love FM News:Minister Bernard returns to Cuba in October for a Health Forum. Reporting for Love News, Hipolito Novelo.