FORMER Prime Minister of Jamaica Bruce Golding says the Caribbean Community (Caricom) will continue to facilitate consultations with Haitian stakeholders, including those from the diaspora, as the country seeks to find sustainable solutions to its humanitarian, economic, and political crises.
Golding, who was speaking at Sunday’s opening ceremony for consultations with Haitian stakeholders, hosted in Kingston, said this will be “the first of many engagements that we will have with important stakeholders in Haiti”.
“We plan to travel to Haiti for further discussions with an even wider group of stakeholders, and to build on those areas of agreement that we hope will emerge from the Kingston talks.
“We are not closing our eyes or closing our ears to any voice that we feel can help to arrive at a lasting solution to the problems that Haiti is experiencing,” he said.
He added: “We also plan to engage the Haitian Diaspora, especially those in the United States and Canada. No matter how long they have left the shores of Haiti, their hearts are still there and we believe that their interests and concerns are identical to yours. We believe that they have a significant role to play in the search for solutions and in charting a way forward.”
Golding is part of Caricom’s three-member Eminent Persons Group tasked by the Caricom heads of government to lead its good offices effort to assist in facilitating and encouraging dialogue among Haitian stakeholders, with a view to resolving the situation in the French-speaking country. The other members are former Prime Minister of The Bahamas Perry Christie, and former Prime Minister of St Lucia Dr Kenny Anthony, who is the leader of the team.
He noted that the Eminent Persons Group met last weekend to analyse the issues and “to make sure we fully understand the sensitivities and the complexities” of Haiti’s situation.
“We acknowledge that these conversations are not starting from scratch. The dialogue has been ongoing, and considerable efforts have been made toward developing a framework for transforming the current situation into one of peace and security, constitutionality, credible elections, institution building and — perhaps most importantly — creating in the Haitian people a sense of hope for the future,” he said.
Since the assassination of President Jovenel Moise in July 2021 Haiti has been in the throes of political and economic crises. The country has been without any elected representatives since early January, and last held a presidential vote in 2016.
It is reported that rival gangs have taken control of up to 80 per cent of the Haitian capital, Port-au-Prince, and have continued a deadly fight for more territory.
The United Nations reported that more than 840 people were killed in the first three months of this year, while more than 600 people have been slain in April alone. Also, more than 400 people have been kidnapped so far this year.
Golding stressed that Caricom is not proposing a fix for the troubles that Haiti is experiencing, noting that the country has had enough of that over centuries “and invariably, they don’t work. Some of them, indeed, have made the situation in Haiti even worse”.
“No one — not us, not anyone — can do that for you, no one should be allowed to do that for you, and no one should be presumptuous enough to think that they are entitled to do that for you.
“All that we dare to offer is to help to facilitate the dialogue, the earnest conversations that must take place if acceptable and sustainable solutions are to be found,” he said.