It has been my pleasure to host my esteemed colleague, His Excellency Rene Preval, who is no stranger to Jamaica, having last visited the island in an official capacity in 1996.
As many of you may be aware, Jamaica and Haiti have had a long history of collaboration and cooperation in various forms over the years, punctuated by high-level visits from both sides.
I am particularly pleased that the president accepted my invitation to visit at this time, as Jamaica, in addition to its participation in the regional assistance programme for Haiti, seeks to make its own contribution to the reconstruction process currently underway for the economic and social development of our sister nation.
This visit must therefore be seen as a critical step in deepening the relations which exist between our two countries and by extension, a move towards the strengthening of the regional integration process through the various initiatives on which we are about to embark. It is against this background that I am pleased to inform you of the outcome of our deliberations.
At the regional level, we reaffirmed our commitment to CARICOM and lauded the establishment of the CSME as a pivotal turning point in the integration movement.
Haiti is now in the process of technical preparations to facilitate its accession to the revised treaty of Chaguaramas which will allow it to eventually participate in the single market. It is my hope that this process can be completed as soon as possible.
President Preval has advised me of the latest developments regarding the political and economic situation in his country including the support being received from the international community in critical areas of national development.
I wish to commend him personally for his astute leadership in adopting an inclusive approach to governance, as well as his administration for the commitment displayed towards ensuring that democracy take root in Haiti and that an environment of stability and security can be created which will foster economic and social progress.
I also wish to recognize the efforts of the international community for their role in this regard and to encourage them to continue to stay the course with Haiti by providing the necessary financial and technical support. This is crucial if the government is to succeed in its development plans.
In this context, our two delegations met jointly under the chairmanship of our foreign minister and the Haitian minister of tourism. They explored avenues for greater cooperation, specifically in the priority areas identified by the government of Haiti.
Both President Preval and myself are pleased that we have discussed a number of initiatives covering tourism, agriculture, engagement with the Haitian Diaspora. Additional areas of interest include education and training, institutional strengthening and improving social infrastructure.
We both recognized that cooperation in agriculture and reforestation would be beneficial to the Haitian economy and social infrastructure. The planting of trees and sharing of best practices would not only provide greater agricultural yields but would also serve to stem the risks of landslides and flooding.
The strengthening of our diplomatic and consular ties was also seen as a useful avenue for deepening our relations and I have undertaken to give further consideration as to how this could be enhanced in the near future.
The way forward
The president and I recognized that it was important to take concrete action on these proposals in a timely and coherent manner. We both agreed, therefore, that the convening of the first meeting of the joint commission in Jamaica during the second quarter of this year should be pursued to follow-up on the various issues we have discussed.
I wish to assure President Preval and his delegation of Jamaica’s support and continued commitment to the people of Haiti. He can count on us to be that voice for Haiti in the international arena as together we work towards achieving peace, stability and prosperity for his blessed country.
My government stands ready to ensure that the undertakings assumed today will be honoured. Thank you.God bless you.
Best wishes to all of you, and especially to you Mr. President, for 2007.

Skip to content