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Caricom to spearhead partnered approach to assist Haiti

By Carlena Knight

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As conditions in Haiti continue to plummet, Caricom has made the commitment to lead the charge to help restore order in the member-state.

Chairman of Caricom, Prime Minister Gaston Browne revealed yesterday that after meeting with the other member states, plans are being made to lead a joint effort with other international bodies to assist Haiti.

“Caricom will have to coordinate its efforts with other international stakeholders including the United States, probably Canada and France, in providing some leadership and helping the Haitian people to come together and put an interim government in place, while at the same time putting structures in place to strengthen the institutional arrangement so that they will have a functional governance and electoral machinery in order to ensure that credible elections will be held in the shortest possible time,” Browne said.

Haiti has sought US aid in securing the country and investigating the attack that killed President Jovenel Moïse, last Wednesday, at his home in Port-au-Prince, but the Caricom Chairman revealed he is not in support of any military intervention from the US or any other international country.

He did, however, mention that the final decision remains with the Haitians themselves but cautioned that these international countries do not try to meddle in the politics of the country.

“I think that any intervention would have to be at the invitation of the Haitian people. I think what is important here is for Caricom to take the lead with the support of the international community to help the Haitian people to come up with an indigenous solution. So, we have to be very careful that we do not appear to be meddling in the internal politics of Haiti and remember Haiti, too, has had issues and suspicions involving various organisations and countries. They are very suspicious of the OAS; they are very suspicious of the US. You would recall back in 1915 that the US would have literally invaded Haiti and would have abducted the former president.

“So, again, with those suspicions, I think the approach should be one with Caricom taking the lead supported with the necessary resources and expertise by the US, France, Canada and any other country that is concerned about the instability and would like to facilitate strengthening the democratic relations in Haiti,” he said.

PM Browne also added that Caricom will be addressing the Covid-19 vaccination situation in Haiti as an alarming number of people have not been inoculated due to a lack of vaccines.

Browne’s comments come a day after experts called for the regional body to take charge in assisting the Caribbean island. Like Browne, they too were not in favour of any international military intervention.

Former Ambassador of Jamaica to the United Nations, Curtis Ward, suggested that if the US is to send troops to Haiti, it should be a multilateral approach and such approval should be made through the UN Security Council for a military force inclusive of representatives from Caricom countries.

While Emmanuella Douyon, a Haitian trained economist, believed the call for US security forces is not warranted at this time as there is a level of mistrust.

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