The Jamaican government on Friday reiterated its position to side with Cuba against the recent PriceSmart ban, saying the U.S.-based retailing giant's suspension on transactions with Cuban diplomats in Jamaica was illegal.
PriceSmart, a U.S.-based bulk-shopping warehouse, suspended in March the accounts of the Cuban embassy's staff and citizens residing in Jamaica without permanent residency. The company said it was obliged to impose the ban, citing the decades-old U.S. embargo on Cuba.
The ban, which was lifted in June, was illegal, as it ran counter to the non-discrimination provisions of the laws and constitutions of Jamaica and other members of the 15-nation Caribbean Community (Caricom), said Jamaican Foreign Minister Arnold Nicholson during a meeting with Caricom leaders, including Cuban Minister of Foreign Affairs Bruno Rodriguez Parilla.
Nicholson said that the "unfortunate ban" was one of the worst forms of the extra-territorial application of the U.S. law, adding that Jamaica worked strenuously within the institutions of Caricom to have the matter dealt with.
"We were committed within COFCOR (Council for Foreign and Community Relations of Caricom) that this invidious situation could not stand and we would have been willing to seek audience with the Attorney General of the United States on this matter," he said.
The minister reiterated Jamaica's commitment to deepening relations with Cuba, and noted that economic, technical and cultural programs would continue to be pursued in the interests of both Cuba and Jamaica.
For his part, Rodriguez conveyed the appreciation of the government and people of Cuba to Caricom for having displayed solidarity with the Cuban government on the PriceSmart issue.