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Funding for CARICOM observer mission to Haiti elections

The Caribbean Community (CARICOM)/Canada cooperation continues with the signing today Wednesday, 2 February, 2000 of an agreement paving the way for the Regional organisation to receive funding for an electoral observation mission to Haiti in March this year.

The agreement for one hundred thousand Canadian dollars was signed by CARICOM Secretary General Mr. Edwin Carrington, and Director General of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA) Caribbean Programme, Mr. Stephen Free. These funds will be used to partly finance the electoral observation mission for the planned elections on 19 March, 2000 in Haiti.

The Community’s mission to Haiti is an undertaking as a result of the Seventh Special Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in Trinidad and Tobago in October, 1999 as Haiti’s membership of the Community is realised. Heads of Government are of the view that the presence of observers from the Region can only contribute to the enhancement of Haiti’s integration into the regional organisation. The CARICOM Observer Mission is one of several, including that from the Organisation of American States (OAS), which will have a presence in Haiti. According to an official of the CARICOM Secretariat, “CARICOM’s Mission to Haiti must be seen as a demonstration of the solidarity of the Caribbean people with the people of Haiti in their effort to advance a peaceful, stable, and prosperous society.”

A Canadian official says the move demonstrates that country’s support to an important regional partner in the Caribbean, and will complement Canada’s other democratic development initiatives in the Region. The official adds that it will also further develop CARICOM’s capacity in electoral observation, and will enhance the perception that Canada is seeking to encourage regional organisations to take on more regional responsibilities especially in democratic development sectors.

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