CARICOM leaders want early ratification of new Haitian prime minister
PARAMARIBO, Suriname, Mar 10, CMC – Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders say they were looking forward “to the early ratification” of a new prime minister for Haiti following the sudden resignation of Prime Minister Dr. Garry Conille last month.
President Michel Martelly has already nominated his foreign minister Laurent Lamothe to replace Dr. Conille and lawmakers in the opposition-controlled parliament, the lower Chamber of Deputies and the upper Senate chamber, will have to approve the choice of Lamothe, 39, an entrepreneur and close friend of the Haitian president.
Conille had been Martelly’s third choice for the post after the legislators voted against accepting his first two nominees.
The communiqué issued after the Inter-sessional summit here late on Friday night, noted that the CARICOM leaders had also reiterated calls for the international community to fulfil their pledges to finance the reconstruction of the French-speaking CARICOM member state devastated by an earthquake on January 12, 2010 that killed an estimated 300,000 people and left more than a million others homeless.
The leaders said they were encouraged by the “positive outcome” of the visit by the Bureau of Conference last month “which served to reaffirm the Community’s support for and solidarity with that sister nation”.
The communiqué said the leaders welcomed the “fruitful discussions” held with Martelly, his Cabinet members and relevant stakeholders as well as the Memorandum of Understanding with regard to CARICOM’s support for Haiti in the areas of institution building, capacity building, programmes for youth development and facilitation of travel for Haitian nationals.
“In this regard, they underscored the importance of the Special Representative and the CARICOM Representation Office in Haiti in continuing to provide support for Haiti through advocacy and capacity building as well as to assist in the implementation of the recently signed MOU.”
Meanwhile, CARICOM says it will finance the operations of its office and representative in Haiti, while Barbados became the 10th member state to sign a visa waiver agreement allowing for Haitian business leaders and diplomats to visit the island without a visa.
“We need to keep the office open and have decided that we ourselves will finance that”, said St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Denzil Douglas, adding some specific decisions has been made “and one in particular is to keep our office in Haiti open and how to integrate the work that former Jamaica prime minister PJ Patterson is doing with international efforts.
“We also moved on the visa waiver agreement so Haitian businessmen can move freely without any hindrance within CARICOM,” Dr. Douglas said.
Suriname’s Foreign Minister Winston Lackin told reporters that the visa waiver agreements are part of the efforts to help Haiti rebuild by allowing free movement of diplomats and businessmen with a United States or Schengen visa.
“We can help rebuild Haiti by enhancing economic ties an establishing entities which could proved labor for the Haitian people”, Lackin said.