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Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Hon. Bruce Golding, has reaffirmed the region’s commitment to the rebuilding of Haiti, which he says is now CARICOM’s “most urgent priority”.

Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and Prime Minister of Jamaica, Hon. Bruce Golding (left), shakes hands with President of Haiti, His Excellency Rene Preval, at the opening of the 31st Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of CARICOM, at the Half Moon Hotel, in Montego Bay, St. James, on Sunday (July 4).

Mr. Golding assumed Chairmanship of CARICOM in July after Haiti’s President, His Excellency Rene Preval, had to forego leadership of the regional grouping following the devastating January 12 earthquake.
During the opening ceremony for the 31st Regular Meeting of the Conference of Heads of the Caribbean Community, at the Half Moon Hotel in Montego Bay, St. James, on Sunday (July 4), Mr. Golding lauded Mr. Preval for his leadership during the crisis and post-crisis reconstruction.
He also commended the international community for the commitment of financial support amounting to almost US$10 billion from 57 donor countries and organisations.
“We impress upon the international community the urgency with which actions must follow these commitments, especially in strengthening the institutional capacity of Haiti to undertake the mammoth task at hand,” Mr. Golding urged.
In a ceremony where several speakers stressed the priority with which reconstruction of Haiti must be treated, three organisations were also honoured for the role they played in the region’s response to the disaster.
Director General of the Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management (ODPEM), Ronald Jackson, whose organisation led the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency’s response in Haiti, accepted commendations for emergency response coordination following the quake.
Director of Emergency Disaster Management and Special Services, in the Ministry of Health, Dr. Marion Bullock DuCasse, and her team were recognised for leading the emergency health care response, while Major James Ogilvie collected for his team of Jamaica Defence Force personnel, who provided security and logistics support.