JIS News

Prime Minister P.J. Patterson has stated that the decision to allow former Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide to travel to Jamaica on humanitarian grounds was the right one and that assurances had been given by Mr. Aristide that he would not abuse the terms on which hospitality had been granted to him. The Prime Minister was speaking during a Prime Ministerial address to Parliament on Tuesday (Mar. 16)
“We are convinced that our decision to receive Mr. Aristide on humanitarian grounds was a just and right one and that he will not abuse the terms on which hospitality was granted to him,” the Prime Minister said.
Mr. Patterson said the former Haitian President had indicated a desire to return to the region to be reunited with his daughters who are in the United States and that the decision was made following consultations with other CARICOM Heads.
“I made it clear to Mr. Aristide that I did not expect him to use his stay in Jamaica to engage in any political or other activities inimical to the fragile stability and order that are being re-established in Haiti,” Mr. Patterson stated.
He emphasised that Mr. Aristide has at no time either before or since his arrival in Jamaica, indicated any wish to apply for political asylum, adding that it was anticipated that the former Haitian President would use his stay in Jamaica to finalise arrangements for the relocation of himself and his family to another country that is prepared to receive him on a long term basis.
Turning to the matter regarding diplomatic relations between Jamaica and Haiti, Mr. Patterson noted that there have been reports in the press about Haiti’s decision to freeze relations with Jamaica, but that the Government had not received any official communication to that effect. “Any such action can only have negative consequences for the long-term economic and social development of the Haitian people,” he added.

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