Guyana demands justice for victims of the Cubana terrorist act

Guyana reiterated its demand for justice for the victims of the 1976 Cubana air disaster while stating the people of CARICOM, Cuba and Guyana will never give in to terrorism.

President, Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali, made the bold declaration on Wednesday, some 46 years after the air disaster occurred.

Delivering brief remarks at the Cubana Monument in Barbados, President Ali said the attack represented an open assault on the independence of the English-speaking countries.

He said, “The passage of time has not quelled our demand for justice for the innocent victims of the Cubana air disaster nor will it absolve the intellectual authors of this crime.”

His Excellency, President Dr Mohamed Irfaan Ali

Dr Ali noted that justice still has not been served and the victims, deserve every bit of it now.

He vehemently declared that CARICOM, Cuba, and Guyana did not succumb to terrorism rather the territories have come together with a strengthened resolve to advance human dignity.

While paying tribute to them, he said “they will hold a special place in our hearts… and in our region for having innocently paid the supreme sacrifice. In their memories, hundreds of other Guyanese successfully completed medical studies in Cuba”.

President Ali noted the strength of the people at that time, noting that there is strength in family.

This is the strength of solidarity, family, commitment, and human dignity,” President Ali affirmed.

President Ali laying a wreath at the Cubana Monument, Barbados

Further, the head of state pledged the country’s continued solidarity with the Republic of Cuba, emphasising the importance of coming together in times of calamity.

Forty-six years ago, the Cubana Airways Flight CU-455 was scheduled to fly the following route: Guyana to Trinidad, Trinidad to Barbados, Barbados to Jamaica, and finally, Kinston to Havana, Cuba. Nine minutes after it took off from Barbados Seawell International Airport (now Grantley Adams Airport) two bombs exploded in the plane, causing it to crash into the Atlantic Ocean. The 1976 terrorist attack claimed the lives of 73 people, including 11 Guyanese.

The 11 Guyanese were Eric Norton, Ann Nelson, Seshnarine Kumar, Jaqueline Williams, Rawle Thomas, Margaret Bradshaw, Gordon Sobha, Violet Thomas, Rita Thomas, Raymond Persaud, and Sabrina Harripaul. Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Minister, Hugh Todd, President of Cuba, Miguel Díaz-Canel, Prime Minister of Barbados, Mia Mottley, President of Suriname, Chandrikapersad Santokhi, Prime Minster of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, Secretary General of CARICOM, Dr Carla Barnett and other regional officials were also at the event.

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