THE Bureau of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) met in Special Session on Friday 27 August 2021 to discuss the political and humanitarian situation in Haiti.
The meeting was presided over by the Chair of Conference the Honourable Gaston Browne, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda and included the other two members of the Bureau: Belize, represented by Prime Minister the Honourable John Briceño, and Trinidad and Tobago represented by Senator the Honourable Dr. Amery Browne, Minister of Foreign and CARICOM Affairs. The Prime Minister of Barbados, the Honourable Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister of Jamaica, the Honourable Andrew Holness, the Premier of Montserrat, the Honourable Joseph Farrell as well as the Foreign Ministers of Guyana and Suriname also attended. The Prime Minister of Haiti, the Honourable Ariel Henry provided an update on the situation in Haiti.
Prime Minister Henry stated that his government was dealing with three priorities simultaneously. These were relief and reconstruction following the earthquake, the need for credible and transparent elections, as well as delivering justice through the complex investigation into the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse.
Prime Minister Henry outlined the effects of the aftermath of the earthquake which struck on 14 August, and the passage of Tropical Storm Grace which affected the entire southern peninsula of the country on 16 August. He pointed out that the needs would be clearer after the Post Disaster Needs Assessment (PDNA) was completed in five weeks.
Prime Minister Henry commended CARICOM for its early moral and material support.
The Bureau was of the view that the Community must be at the forefront of ensuring that its Member State Haiti has a fresh start as it recovers from the extensive devastation of the earthquake of 14 August and from the passage of tropical storm Grace, a situation compounded by the assassination of President Moïse.
The Bureau noted that the crisis presented a good opportunity to rebuild Haiti and offered the assistance of the Community in those areas in which Member States had expertise such as the elections process, judicial and investigative support for the inquiry into the death of President Moïse and the restoration of the democratic institutions. Support was also offered with respect to curbing the crime and violence in Haiti.
A number of Member States pledged financial donations to address the immediate needs of the country and there was agreement on the need for a sustained development effort over the long term to give Haiti a fresh start. The need for a robust and well-coordinated humanitarian response and vaccination effort was also highlighted.
The Bureau assured the Haitian Prime Minister of the Community’s unstinting support for Haiti as it sought to emerge from its present challenges.