CARICOM Chairman concerned about Haiti

ST. JOHN’S, Antigua (CMC) — Chairman of the Caribbean Community (Caricom), Prime Minister Gaston Browne on Monday urged regional leaders to deal with what he termed the “untenable situation” in Haiti.

Browne, addressing the 42nd regular meeting of Caricom leaders, said that “it is with alarm and grave concern, that I have seen the reports emanating from our member state Haiti”.

“I am aware that we have made many overtures to provide good offices, to help resolve the seemingly intractable political issues that have plagued the country. More recently the horrific level of violence has caused significant loss of life and has made thousands flee their homes for safety.

“This is an untenable situation in one of our member states and we must redouble our efforts to bring a resolution that allows some level of normality to return to Haiti,” said Browne, who took over the chairmanship of the regional integration movement on Monday from his Trinidadian counterpart, Dr Keith Rowley.

“Caricom has made beneficial interventions to resolve political crises in Haiti before, and we should not shrink from doing so now,” Browne added.

Last month, the Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) in Haiti announced plans to stage the constitutional referendum as well as the legislative elections for the Senate and Deputy on Sunday September 26.

The referendum had originally been scheduled for June 27, but it had been criticised by the opposition parties after indicating that the referendum had been unilaterally proposed by President Jovenel Moïse who has said it is necessary as the government moves to reform the constitution.Last week, both the Organization of American States (OAS) and the United Nations Security Council reiterated their “deep concern” about the “deteriorating political, security and humanitarian conditions”.

The Security Council said it was urging all political stakeholders in the French-speaking Caribbean country to set aside their differences and engage in meaningful dialogue “in the interest of peace and stability, to ensure elections take place in a peaceful environment, and to refrain from any acts of or incitement to violence”.

The United States last Wednesday said it believes that a report of a Good Offices mission that visited Haiti earlier this month offers important findings and recommendations that the Haitian government should implement.

“The report lays out the necessary steps needed to move forward, notably the need to proceed with free and fair legislative and presidential elections to restore parliament and facilitate the democratic transfer of executive power.  A newly elected president should succeed President (Jovenel) Moise when his term ends on February 7, 2022,” said Bradley A Freden, the US Interim Permanent Representative to the OAS.

“We will continue to press President Moise to move forward with plans to hold legislative and presidential elections this year, which is also laid out very clearly in the report.

“The Haitian people deserve the opportunity to elect their leaders and restore Haiti’s democratic institutions. The only way out of presidential rule by decree is the conduct of free and fair legislative elections so parliament can resume its constitutional role,” said the US diplomat.

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