Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Senator Maxine McClean. (FP)

Barbadians have been told they must continue to demonstrate their abhorrence of terrorism and strive for peace.

The call came yesterday as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean addressed the commemorative ceremony for the 40th anniversary of the Cubana Air Disaster, which occurred on October 6, 1976, just off Barbados’ shores.

Speaking at the site of the memorial monument at Paynes Bay, St. James, she told the gathering: “Though some 40 years have passed, to the very date today, the memory of this tragedy remains etched in our minds.  As such, it motivates our continuing call for justice in relation to this matter.”

The crash took the lives of 73 persons including 57 Cubans, 11 Guyanese, and five North Koreans.

Referring to the tragedy as a seminal event in the relations between Barbados and Cuba, Senator McClean said it forever established a special bond and identity between the two nations.

She added that though this ceremony was an occasion to remember the victims of the disaster, they must also “acknowledge and identify with the many other innocent lives that are lost daily around the world”.

“We witness the destruction caused by the many terrorist acts against people everywhere. As citizens of the world and as peace-loving people, we must continue to demonstrate our abhorrence of these events and strive for good and peace. We must never waver in our respect for human rights and democratic principles and we must remain resolute in our stance against the evil of terrorism,” stressed the Minister.

Senator McClean continued: “As Barbados celebrates our 50th anniversary of nationhood, the Cubana tragedy remains the first and only terrorist act that has marred our shores.  We will work to ensure that it remains the only one. We commit to work with our local, regional and global partners to achieve the eventual elimination of these types of acts.

“So, even though the odds are sometimes stacked against us and injustice appears to be a mountain too high to climb, let us move on with optimism and hope that, as we pursue what is right, what is just and what is good, the future of our children and our world would be one of exemplary conduct, love of humanity and a world where peace, security and mutual respect reign. Please join us in this worthy quest,” the Foreign Minister implored.

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