Caricom: “Haiti has been at the front and center of the community’s interests and agenda”

The three-day meeting of the Caribbean trading bloc known as Caricom begins this Wednesday in the Bahamas. The 15 leaders of this group are expected to discuss the growing chaos in Haiti and its impact on the region during their biannual meeting.

“There is no question if Haiti will be discussed” at this week’s meeting, said Leonard Robertson, a spokesman for Caricom. “Haiti has been front and center in the interests and agenda of the community”, he added.

Bahamian Foreign Minister Fred Mitchell also said yesterday that a solution to the instability in Haiti will be high on the agenda of the summit, which will be attended by Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

"You know that Haiti has been thrown into chaos as a result of the collapse of its political system."said Mitchell, adding that "countries around the world and in this hemisphere have been trying to see what to do to help".

"The United States has been trying to find ways to resolve the political situation in Haiti and improve security in that country."added the Bahamian Foreign Minister.

Mitchell pointed out that Canadians have agreed to take the lead in trying to solve some of these problems. and that Trudeau will hold talks with Bahamian Prime Minister Phillip Davis on this matter.

"Jamaica and the Bahamas have agreed to provide personnel if the United Nations decides that Haiti must be re-entered. The question is how these modalities will be managed. Obviously, we do not have the necessary human resources to carry out an operation of this type. We want to contribute to it"highlighted the Foreign Minister.

Caricom members are Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Bahamas, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Haiti, Jamaica, Montserrat, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, and Trinidad and Tobago.

The Caricom meeting will be hosted by Bahamian Prime Minister Philip Davis, who has persistently complained the cost of repatriating thousands of Haitians and hundreds of Cubans in the last year. He says that Caricom needs to help find a solution to Haiti’s economic, political and security crisis.

Violence has skyrocketed in Haiti as poverty and hunger deepen, with gangs becoming more powerful since the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse in July 2021. The number of reported kidnappings rose to more than 1,200 last year, more than double the number reported the year before. Meanwhile, last year 1,200 murders were reported, an increase of 35% compared to the previous year, according to the UN.

The violence, coupled with double-digit inflation, has prompted thousands to flee Haiti for neighboring Caribbean islands, with many seeking to eventually reach the US.

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