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Assistant Secretary General of the Organisation of American States (OAS), Ambassador Albert Ramdin, is urging CARICOM countries to provide greater support for Haiti.
Speaking at an OAS press briefing at the Hilton Kingston Hotel, Friday (June 5), Ambassador Ramdin said there was a moral obligation for CARICOM to show much more political commitment and support to Haiti, as a member of the regional grouping.
“I know that Caribbean countries cannot offer the kind of development assistance others can, but there are little things you can do,” he stated. He said he hoped “people to people” contact between Haiti and CARICOM would be improved, with Caribbean politicians visiting that country.
“There is a lot of commitment on the Haitian side, when I speak to them towards CARICOM. But, at the end of the conversation, there is always the disappointment that, while they are members, they are not seen as being a full member also,” he noted.
Ambassador Ramdin disclosed that the OAS is seeking to send a mission to Haiti by September, which will include representatives from several multilateral organisations, as well as Caribbean leaders. He shared that the OAS would also take members of the media to the country, in an effort to showcase some of the positives in Haiti.
“We hope to take four or five media outlets. So that when they come back, they can broadcast some of the good things. They can make documentaries, they can have short news clips, so that people can see,” he said.
Ambassador Ramdin said the OAS was looking to showcase Haiti as a country with opportunities and a future, especially since the country is currently going through a period of relative stability.
“It is too much seen in dark terms, as a country in crisis, a country with problems, a country with no options,” he said, as he rejected notions of Haiti being a “failed state.”
He added that the OAS is also planning an inter-American programme to create a framework to help Haiti, after United Nations forces pull out. He also disclosed that the OAS was considering, seriously, a proposal from Trinidad and Tobago to establish a hemispheric development fund.
CARICOM Foreign Ministers recently endorsed Mr. Ramdin’s candidature for re-election as OAS Assistant Secretary General in 2010. Surinamese by birth, the Ambassador is a former Assistant Secretary General of CARICOM responsible for foreign and community relations.