No Permanent Solution for Haiti without CARICOM – Patterson


Prime Minister and outgoing Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), The Most Hon. P. J. Patterson, this morning, declared that he did not believe that “there will be a lasting and permanent solution to the problems in Haiti unless CARICOM is involved and allowed to make a meaningful contribution.”
“Nothing can be achieved without our collective support and without the single vision we have always had for the region’s development and maintenance of CARICOM’s integrity,” Mr. Patterson told the 15th Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) in Basseterre, St. Kitts and Nevis.
Delivering his last address as outgoing Chairman, the Prime Minister said he believed that CARICOM had every reason to be proud of the CARICOM initiative which, had presented a logical blue print for achieving democracy in Haiti.
Stating that “despite our best effort, the CARICOM initiative was torpedoed,” Mr. Patterson indicated that CARICOM would remain steadfast in “our commitment to the tenets of democracy and good governance in our societies. CARICOM must continue to play its part in seeking to help the people of Haiti realize their full potential for political, economic and social development.”
The situation in Haiti, he said, “spoke volumes to the imperative of strengthening our governance machinery in the course of regional decision making and the pursuit of international policy.”
“Let me emphasize that it is at such challenging times in our regional grouping, that more than ever we need to stay the course and act boldly with a strong sense of unity of purpose to discharge the responsibilities of leadership to the people of our community.”
“The world has been watching – we have been put under the microscope and CARICOM must without fear or favour uphold the fundamental principles by which we remain guided, to ensure law, order, propriety and transparency in not only our governance system but in all aspects of our regional international undertakings. We cannot emphasise too often the value of the strength of our togetherness,” the outgoing CARICOM Chairman said.
Pointing out that CARICOM had steadily built a foundation over the years to respond collectively to a number of political, social and economic crises, he declared: “we may be small in size, we certainly make no claim to military power but our influence in the hemisphere should not be underestimated and I do not believe that there will be a lasting and permanent solution to the problems in Haiti unless CARICOM is involved and allowed to make a meaningful contribution.”
Mr. Patterson wondered who would have thought that when CARICOM met for a special meeting in St. Lucia in November 2003 that the resilience and validity of “our community would have been so tested and tried in such a brief spell. We would never have imagined that the ongoing political crisis in our sister member state, Haiti, would have become so explosive and with such a strange twist of circumstances that would seek to undermine and threaten the very pillars of unity on which our integration movement was formed.”
“We cannot emphasise too much that the Charter of Civil Society, which embraces the ideals and standards of political governance, must move from a non-binding undertaking to a legally binding arrangement as we cement the governing structures and entrench democracy within our societies.”
As to the present Inter-Sessional meeting, Mr. Patterson noted that the agenda seemed formidable but CARICOM was going to tackle the items with vigour and would work efficiently so that the organization could remain relevant and validate the purpose for which it was created.
CARICOM would also look at its relations with the outside world and the mechanism needed to ensure that “our friends and partners continue to support our interests while at the same we preserve our ideals and do not compromise our standards for the conduct of these relations.”
Mr. Patterson, also reviewed his nine month tenure as Chairman and updated the meeting on the focus of his administration: “lifeline” areas of the community, the consolidation of “our common economic and commercial space, the establishment of the regional court and the improvement of our system of governance to ensure greater efficiency in the delivery of services to our people.”
Mr. Patterson, who has come to the end of his tenure, congratulated the newly-elected Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Hon. Baldwin Spencer, as well as former Prime Minister Lester Bird for his contribution to the integration movement.
Mr. Patterson, in turn, was praised by the speakers at the Opening Ceremony for his role and serve to the community.
Paying tribute to Mr. Patterson at the meeting held in the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank building were: CARICOM Secretary-General, Dr. Edwin Carrington; host Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Denzil Douglas, who is chairing the meeting; and Hon. Harold Lovell, Antigua’s Minister of Foreign Affairs.
Following the Opening Ceremony, the meeting began discussions on a range of issues including the Situation in Haiti, US-Caribbean Relations and the Status of Preparations for the Hosting of Cricket World Cup in 2007. These discussions were expected to continue way into the afternoon. The meeting ends tomorrow (Friday).

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