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CARICOM Secretary-General Mr Edwin Carrington has expressed “deep shock and sorrow” at the tragic Haitian ferry disaster which has reportedly claimed more than 400 lives.

Mr Carrington, who spoke with Haitian Foreign Minister M. Fritz Longchamp on Monday, conveyed the Community’s profound sympathy to and solidarity with its latest Member State in the aftermath of the incident. Haiti was accepted as a member of the Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM) during last July’s Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government in Montego Bay, Jamaica.

On his first day back at his desk following a month-long break, the Secretary-General was brought up to date by M. Longchamp on the events surrounding the sinking of the ferry La Fierte Gonavienne off the coast of Haiti. The tragic incident has been described as one of the worst international maritime disasters of the past 30 years.

The Secretary-General issued the following statement on the Haitian ferry disaster:

“It is with deep shock and sorrow that I have received the news of the deaths of hundreds of Haitian citizens due to the sinking of a ferry in the Gulf of Gonave.

The magnitude of the tragedy will undoubtedly leave an indelible imprint on the history of Haiti and the minds of its people. In these harrowing moments, the people of the Caribbean Community, of which Haiti is a full part, extend deepest sympathy to the government and people of Haiti, especially to those families, which have lost their loved ones. We also stand ready to assist in whatever way possible the latest member of our family through this period of great national loss.

On behalf of the Community, the Secretariat and on my own behalf, I offer sincere condolences to the government and people of Haiti and the families of the deceased.”

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