Haiti needs the world’s attention says PM

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The content originally appeared on: Caribbean News Service

A day after his return from a Caricom mission in Haiti, Prime Minister Andrew Holness, told a diplomatic audience Tuesday that the French-speaking Caribbean nation needs the attention of the world.

Speaking at a Diplomatic Week event held at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, the prime minister gave his preliminary observations on the Haiti mission, in advance of the formal report.

“All stakeholders that we have spoken to [in Haiti] have pointed out the emergency situation they face with security and safety of their citizens,” Holness said.

He pointed out that although he holds the view that “Haiti has institutions that are functioning”, these institutions are challenged.

“And with the right support, with the right attention, Haiti can overcome its challenges,” he added.

The prime minister affirmed: “I remain hopeful for the Haitians, and Jamaica and Caricom stand in solidarity with them. And we will continue to use our good offices and give whatever support we have in bringing global attention to the situation in Haiti and in supporting the Haitian people in reaching consensus and resolution of their challenges.”

For her part, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, who was also a part of the mission, said: “We are deeply concerned about our Haitian brothers and sisters and we are working with our partners to treat the matter with the urgency that it deserves.”

She outlined that yesterday’s meetings were “well received” and “we look forward to discussing them formally within the wider Caricom body and beyond”.

Following the prime minister’s address, His Excellency Neville Gertze of the Republic of Namibia, commented that there is an “urgent need” for strengthened multilateralism, one that “is based on caring for one another”.

“And I’m taking the floor really just to say to you that we appreciate that you are bringing the spotlight to the crisis in Haiti. When the focus of the world is elsewhere, we should ensure that we do not leave others out. We should ensure that inclusivity is the order of the day, and we recognise the efforts you are [making],” Gertze said.

The Caricom delegation of leaders convened high-level talks with government officials and civil society in Haiti on Monday and heard from the relevant stakeholders in a bid to determine a path towards consensus-building for the restoration of political and security stability in the country.

This was in addition to a meeting with Canada on the matter of security.

The Caricom team also met with the High Transition Council and the Political Accord groups as well as the political parties, civil society, private sector and religious groups.

Diplomatic Week in Jamaica is being observed under the theme ‘Transcending Borders, Strengthening Partnerships, Advancing Development’.

More than 50 resident and non-resident Heads of Mission are participating in the week’s programme.

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