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Special Representative of CARICOM Heads on Haiti, the Most Hon. P.J. Patterson, has stressed the support of the entire Caribbean for Haiti, as the reconstruction and recovery efforts continue there.
Haiti is on the agenda for discussion at the 31st meeting of the CARICOM Heads of Government to be held in Montego Bay, July 4 to 7. Mr. Patterson was addressing a preparatory media clinic for the meeting hosted by the CARICOM Secretariat at the University of the West Indies on Tuesday (June 15).
“We have always had a tradition in the Caribbean that when one member of the family has a special situation, which needs the support of other members, we all respond with alacrity,” he said.
Mr. Patterson pointed out that CARICOM, and Haiti as its newest member, are all agreed that the reconstruction process offers an opportunity for the further integration of Haiti into all aspects of Caribbean life, and that “in particular, the model for the development of Haiti on the economic front, must be consistent with their being able to join the Caribbean Single Market in the shortest possible period of time.”
“We are not just talking about building back Haiti to what it was before the earthquake. We are talking about the full development of Haiti, and we are looking ten years down from now, what is Haiti going to be like,” he stated.
Mr. Patterson said that, in addition to government to government support, the private sector has a very significant role to play, and that there have been meetings of the representatives of the private sector in other CARICOM countries, and in Haiti, to see how they can collaborate.
He noted that the Caribbean Development Bank has earmarked some $30 million as its contribution toward the effort, while several governments and regional bodies have been making specific contributions.
“There is a pool of funds that are being made available principally from two sources – donor governments, and multi-lateral agencies. All those monies are going to be administered through a trust fund for which the World Bank will have principal management responsibility,” he further outlined.
Additionally, he informed that in respect of all the new development projects, such as airport systems, ports, and hospitals for Haiti, there will be a tender process. Approved projects have already been set out in the reconstruction and recovery action plan for Haiti. The Caribbean Ministers of Tourism and the Caribbean Hotel and Tourist Association have been working with authorities in Haiti on the development and expansion of its tourism industry.
The media clinic saw presentations by CARICOM Secretary General, His Excellency, Dr. Edwin Carrington; Assistant Secretary General, CARICOM, Ambassador Colin Grandison; Economic Adviser to CARICOM’s Secretary-General, Dr. Maurice Odle; Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, Professor Nigel Harris; Chief of Protocol in the Office of the Prime Minister, Eleanor Felix; Assistant Secretary General, Trade And Economic Integration, Caribbean Community Secretariat, Ambassador Irwin La Roc (via satellite from Guyana). Other media practitioners participated via satellite from Barbados.