Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders are supporting the establishment of a CARICOM Special Fund for private sector investment in Haiti.
The initiative is intended to strengthen the country’s ability to effectively participate in all aspects of the Caribbean Community, including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), as the nation recovers from the series of catastrophes and crises it suffered during 2010.
Developments on Haiti, a member of CARICOM, were discussed by regional leaders with Secretary-General of the Organization of American States, Jose Miguel Insulza, and CARICOM’s Special Representative on Haiti, the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson, during the recently concluded 22nd Inter-Sessional Meeting of Heads of Government in Grand Anse, Grenada.
A communiqué from the meeting, where the leaders re-affirmed CARICOM’s support for Haiti, said the region’s private sector stakeholders were urged to collaborate and take advantage of opportunities offered by the French-speaking nation, to strengthen that position of the country and the Caribbean in local and external trade.
Additionally, the leaders agreed to encourage the private sector, including members of the Diaspora, through appropriate incentives, to contribute “generously” to the Fund.
The document said the leaders were optimistic that Haiti’s ability to fully and effectively participate in all aspects of CARICOM will be further strengthened by its exploitation of the three-year one way duty free concession granted by the Council of Trade on Economic Development (COTED) for goods entering the Single Market from the French-speaking territory.
In this regard, COTED has been asked to explore the possibility of expanding the list of products, “at the earliest opportunity”.
A re-commitment was also given to provide support to augment Haiti’s institutional capacity as well as provide professional and technical support in the short and medium terms.
On the matter of the cholera outbreak in Haiti, the leaders noted that the disease was on the decline and congratulated the government and institutional partners on the efforts at controlling the disease.
The regional leaders also voiced regret at the circumstances resulting in the withdrawal of Haiti’s Under-17 football team from the Confederation of North Central American and Caribbean Football (CONCACAF) age group World Cup qualifying tournament in Montego Bay, St. James.
“Heads of Government expressed their support for the démarche of Haiti towards the Federation of International Football Associations (FIFA) and CONCACAF for special consideration to be given Haiti to permit the team to participate in the World Cup Finals,” the communiqué informed.
It also said Haitian President, Rene Preval, announced that the Inter-Sessional meeting would be his last.
“President Preval expressed his deep appreciation to his colleagues for the support provided by the Community to Haiti during his tenure and for standing side by side with Haiti, following the calamities of 2010,” the communiqué stated.
CONTACT: DOUGLAS McINTOSH