CARICOM Heads Pledge Support for UN Stabilisation Force in Haiti

CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in Kingston, Jamaica, have stated that in keeping with United Nations Resolution 1529 and having regard to the long term needs of Haiti, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) would contribute to the UN Stabilization Force in its efforts to provide humanitarian assistance to the people of Haiti, as well as participate in the rebuilding of the economy and civil society and the reconstitution of the democratic structures, processes and institutions of the country.
CARICOM Chairman Prime Minister P.J. Patterson made the disclosure at a press conference held at Jamaica House on Wednesday (Mar. 3) following two days of talks among CARICOM Leaders including Prime Minister Owen Arthur of Barbados, Prime Minister Perry Christie of the Bahamas, President Bharrat Jadgdeo of Guyana, Dr. Kenny Anthony, Prime Minister of St. Lucia and Prime Minister Patrick Manning of Trinidad and Tobago.
In this regard, the Leaders have therefore mandated the CARICOM Secretary General Dr. Edwin Carrington to establish a Task Force to coordinate its contribution in this area and have requested that an initial report on matter to be made available at the Inter-sessional Meeting of Heads scheduled for later this month.
The Prime Minister said Heads of Government have also welcomed the appointment of a Special Advisor on Haiti to the UN Secretary General Kofi Annan and have made a commitment to work closely with the special advisor in an effort to restore normality to Haiti. The UN Special Advisor is expected to travel to Jamaica for consultations with Prime Minister Patterson in his capacity as Chairman of CARICOM.
Mr. Patterson said the question of Haiti’s participation in the Council of Heads was a matter that would have to be considered at a full meeting of CARICOM, adding that this would however be dependent on what transpires in Haiti.
“We have taken a collective position that we are not prepared to deliberate in any of our meetings with persons who have a reputation which is contrary to the tenets of civil society to which we subscribe” the Prime Minister stated.
He said the Leaders were concerned about the security situation in Haiti at the present time and the resulting loss of lives, destruction of property and politically motivated attacks including threats against members of Government.
“We deplore turmoil everywhere. We want a return to law and order. We don’t want to see more lives being lost, private property being destroyed and attacks that are politically motivated. We expect the multinational peace keeping force which has gone in, to bring a stop to the lawlessness and remind them of their obligation to do so,” the Prime Minister said.
Mr. Patterson said the Heads of Government in their meeting, reiterated their position that underlining any approach to returning Haiti to a state of normalcy should include an economic and social development plan, adding that economic assistance to Haiti was vital in creating political stability, economic development and institutional reconstruction.
“We believe that what is a virtual embargo has helped to undermine the process of building democracy in Haiti,” Mr. Patterson said.
He said the Leaders of the Caribbean Community would keep the evolving situation in Haiti under review with a view to determining what further action the Community should take in the interest of the people of Haiti.

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