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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 said President, Irfaan Ali, 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.
The president informed “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.”
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 and the deceased hold a special place in our hearts.
President Ali noted the strength of the people at that time, noting that there is strength in family.
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.
46 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, Kingston 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 Minister of St Vincent and the Grenadines, Ralph Gonsalves, Secretary General of CARICOM, Dr Carla Barnett and other regional officials were also at the event.