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CARICOM Chairman the Most Hon P.J. Patterson, Prime Minister of Jamaica has received the endorsement of the Haitian President, His Excellency Jean-Bertrand Aristide, for the latest CARICOM initiative to attenuate the political instability in that Member State. This endorsement is in response to proposals contained in a letter from Prime Minister Patterson to the Haitian President (copy attached). The initiative will commence with a fact-finding mission.

The demarche by CARICOM follows reports of a deteriorating political situation in Haiti, resulting in widespread incidents of violence and loss of life in that CARICOM Member State.

Prime Minister Patterson and CARICOM Secretary-General Edwin Carrington spent the greater part of the Christmas holiday period consulting with Saint Lucia’s Prime Minister Dr. the Hon Kenny Anthony, who has responsibility for Justice and Governance in CARICOM, Trinidad and Tobago’s Prime Minister the Hon. Patrick Manning, who has responsibility for Security, and the Hon Perry Christie, Prime Minister of The Bahamas who has responsibility for Tourism, to determine what action CARICOM could take in response to the growing political unrest in Haiti and the long running dispute among the political players.

Emerging from those deliberations a number of steps were agreed on:

    · First, the Chairman issued a statement on behalf of CARICOM marking the historic occasion of the bicentennial.

    · Second, Prime Minister Christie, CARICOM Deputy Secretary-General, Her Excellency Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite, and His Excellency Ambassador Peter Black of Jamaica were assigned to represent the CARICOM presence at the bicentennial ceremonies on January 1st and 2nd in Haiti.

    · Third, having agreed that any assistance, which CARICOM could provide should be grounded on reliable information, a fact-finding mission, headed by CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General Ambassador Colin Granderson, will be sent to Haiti. The mission will include the Ambassador of Saint Lucia to the United States, Her Excellency Sonia Johnny, former Jamaican diplomat, Dr. Matthew Beaubrun and the Ambassador of The Bahamas to the United States, His Excellency Joshua Sears and will travel to Haiti this week.

The mission, which is expected to report to the Chairman of CARICOM within a week, will hold consultations with the various political players to gather information on what has given rise to the present political unrest.

The report of the mission will help the Community in determining how best to assist Haiti in resolving its current political difficulties and in charting the way forward towards political stability.

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