Haiti Earthquake Provides Opportunity for Integration into CARICOM – Patterson


Former Prime Minister and Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Special Representative to Haiti, Most Hon. PJ Patterson, has said that the devastation caused by the Haiti earthquake provides the opportunity for the full integration of the country into the Caribbean Community drawing on the best of its history and culture.
He noted that while Haiti had not yet subscribed to the Caribbean Single Market and Economy (CSME), President Rene Preval has repeatedly indicated that Haiti’s future model of development must be consistent with integration into CARICOM.
“Future policy and planning for the country must therefore take this into account and be geared towards helping it to become a full beneficial member of the CSME,” he stated at a public forum in Castries, St. Lucia on Tuesday (March 9), on route to the meeting of Inter-Sessional Heads of Government in Dominica from March 11 to 12.
The former Prime Minister maintained throughout his address that while CARICOM was there to assist and advise, Haiti must be primarily responsible for its own development plan.
Regarding the way forward as supported by CARICOM, Haiti has already indicated an initial focus on agriculture, light manufacturing and services.
Hence, the rebuilding of the economic and social infrastructure, including substantial housing, should be seen as an important part of the way forward given the country’s potential employment capacity. In addition, tourism is seen as a key driver in the recovery process, given its linkages with agriculture, arts, crafts and culture.
Mr. Patterson stressed the importance of planning small business development within the context of climate change, sustainability and the creativity of the Haitian people, utilising the depth and diversity of the CARICOM cultural profile.
He said that the private sector of Haiti and its CARICOM arm should gear up and equip itself for much of the work.
The forum in St. Lucia was organised by the co-ordinating committee of civil society representatives, which was formed to help ensure a more cohesive response to the national effort aimed at assisting the people of Haiti.
Mr. Patterson praised the initiative, noting that St. Lucia and Dominica were uniquely poised to advance the rebuilding process in Haiti.
He said that both countries had the strong bond of language and a shared colonial history that brings them closer to Haiti than most other countries of the region. “This makes your nations ideally suited to assume a leadership role as CARICOM establishes its physical presence in Haiti to assist the redevelopment,” he stated.

JIS Social