JIS News

Prime Minister, the Hon. Bruce Golding, has said that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) would now focus its efforts on reconstruction in Haiti, as the situation is gradually transitioning from emergency response to long term reconstruction.
He further noted that details of this and the functional areas in which CARICOM’s efforts will be concentrated are still being worked out with Haiti’s President, Mr. Rene Preval.
“Areas being considered include planning and co-ordination of new housing development, the building of schools and support for the agricultural sector. These discussions are being co-ordinated by the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson, in his capacity as CARICOM’s Special Envoy on Haiti,” Mr. Golding said in a statement to the House of Representatives on March 17.
Meanwhile, he pointed out that given the shift in focus and after consultations with other Heads of Government of CARICOM, the decision has been taken for the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) contingent to return home from Haiti.
“Demobilisation is already underway and our troops will all be back in Jamaica before the end of the week. I wish to express our appreciation to the Government of Canada, which provided a vital air bridge in Jamaica to facilitate our efforts,”
Mr. Golding said.
“I wish to finally commend members of the JDF who have served so well and have made us extremely proud. President Preval on several occasions has expressed the gratitude of the Haitian government and people for our quick response and the assistance we have been able to render,” he added.
Within 36 hours of the earthquake which struck Haiti on January 12, a contingent of 158 JDF soldiers were dispatched to render assistance in the wake of the tragedy. A total of 159 health workers were also deployed – 141 from Jamaica and 18 from other Caribbean countries. More than 1,000 patients were seen and treated, including over 200 major surgical operations.

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