CARICOM has held its second official briefing with the Haitian government following the January 12 earthquake which devastated the Port-au-Prince. The briefing took place at Kingston’s Norman Manley International Airport after the return of CARICOM’s representatives from Haiti, where they had met with Haitian Presidnet René Préval, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Health. CARICOM Chairman Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica, said the meeting served to the update the Haitian officials on CARICOM’s assistance and future plans in the country. The meeting was also an opportunity to hear from President Préval a clear guidance on what he wants CARICOM to do on his behalf in negotiations with the international community. “Haiti is dependent on CARICOM to provide them with support and to ensure that at every stage, Haiti’s sovereignty and views in respect to what Haiti wants will come to the fore because as it is now, a number of institutions and organizations who are making a pitch to lead the way in regards to Haiti’s reconstruction, building the new Haiti and President Préval has reiterated his willingness and his view that CARICOM should lead the way with regards to international advocacy,” Mr. Skerrit said. He added that the situation in Haiti remains very serious although significant progress has been made.
Skerrit also had high praises for the Jamaican Defense Force team heading CARICOM’s emergency response team in Haiti. He said he was impressed with the team’s professionalism and organization and recommended that they be officially recognised for their work. “They have made all of us in CARICOM extremely proud. They have gone down there and they’ve establish themselves and they’ve established the CARICOM post in Haiti and although it’s a small contingent, the entire Haitian community is feeling their presence and I believe that at the appropriate time, CARICOM must recognize formally everyone there as they’ve created a network in many parts of the Haiti where the international community has not gotten to,” Mr. Skerrit said.
Prime Minister Bruce Golding told the journalist at the press briefing on CARICOM’s Mission to Haiti that during his recent visit to China, he used the occasion to commend the Chinese government on its assistance to Haiti. He said based on the discussions, he is confident that China will offer its assistance to Haiti as it seeks to move forward. “I raised the matter of Haiti with both Premiere Wen Jiabao and President Hu Jintao (and) I commiserated with them on the loss of eight Chinese nationals who were serving with the United Nations peace keeping forces. I commended them on their swift response to Haiti’s need for assistance despite the fact that Haiti does not formal diplomatic ties with China (and) I left those discussions confident that in the renaissance that has to be coordinated and organised for Haiti, I’m confident that the People’s Republic of China will be playing its part,” Mr. Golding said.
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