CARICOM pledges support for Haiti

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PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti, Feb 8, CMC – Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), President David Granger says the regional integration grouping welcomes the transfer of power in Haiti after the French-speaking CARICOM country inaugurated its 58th head of state on Tuesday.
Granger, the Guyana head of state, who represented CARICOM at the ceremony, said that “the Caribbean is not only a zone of peace from a strategic point of view in terms of the absence of war but it is also a zone of Constitutional stability.
“There is predictability and we don’t want to see that there are elements in any member state, which disrupt the Constitutional process, (or) which use extra legal means to seize power or delay the holding of elections.”
Granger acknowledged that there “have been delays here but Haiti has finally come through and I am very happy to be here to put the stamp of approval on behalf of the entire Caribbean Community on those elections and the duly elected President Moise.”
Jovenel Moise, 48, was sworn in to replace Michel Martelly, who left office one year ago in an environment of political uncertainty after efforts to stage presidential and legislative elections before his departure were unsuccessful.
Moise won the November 20 presidential election last year and members and allies of his party were swept into office in the legislative elections.
Moise took the oath of office declaring “I swear before God and the Nation, to faithfully observe the Constitution and laws of the Republic, to respect and enforce the rights of the Haitian people, to work to the greatness of the Fatherland, to maintain the National Independence and territorial integrity.”
But as he was doing so, members of the Lavalas Party that was once headed by former president Jean Bertrand Aristide took to the streets to denounce what they call the “electoral coup”
On Monday, Moïse went to the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) to receive his certificate confirming his election as the new Head of the State and took the opportunity to express his desire to work for the strengthening of republican institutions, including the CEP.
His critics contend that while he won the presidential election by gaining 55 per cent of the votes cast, he does not have a mandate as barely 20 per cent of the electorate bothered to go to the polls. Three former presidential candidates had unsuccessfully filed legal challenges to his victory.
Granger said that his presence at the inauguration activities represents the region’s solidarity with Haiti, noting that the country has faced major catastrophes over the past 15 years, which have resulted in a significant loss of life and damage to the country’s infrastructure.
“It is a matter of recognition of the democratic process. President Moise has been elected democratically and it is a matter is support for the people of Haiti generally to let them know that they are not alone in their adversity… and we will continue to stand by them.  So it is very important for me as President of Guyana and of course as Chairman of CARICOM that at this moment we should show support and solidarity for Haiti,” he said.
President Granger said that with the development of the economies of the region , a major agenda item at the upcoming CARICOM Inter-sessional summit in Guyana on February 16-17, the region is keen to support the economic revival of Haiti.
“The most important thing is to help the revival of the Haitian economy… We feel that Haiti has a very important role to play in producing goods for [the regional] economy and also in attracting investment from other countries… Haiti is a big market and we would like to see Haiti recover from its environmental problems as quickly as possible because what is good for Haiti is good for the community.”
Granger said that in addition to natural disasters, Haiti’s economy continues to suffer from the economic effects of its struggle for independence.
“Haiti is the first Caribbean country to win its Independence.  It was a long bit of struggle.  I call it the 5000-day war and it was cruelly invaded by the French; by the British and by the Spanish and other mercenary forces and a lot of people were killed.  And the damage done to the Haitian economy was enduring because at that time of the outbreak of the rebellion it was the single richest country in the entire world.  At the end of it the economy was really very badly damaged,” he said.

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