- Foreign Minister of Canada Melanie Joly,
- Prime Minister Ariel Henry
- Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves
- Foreign Ministers and Representatives of the international partners of Haiti
- Representatives of International Institutions
I welcome the invitation to participate in this timely and important meeting on Haiti, a Member State of our Caribbean Community (CARICOM). Let me first commend the Government of Canada for having taken the initiative on convening this Ministerial Meeting. The Community is deeply concerned by the deepening of the multi-dimensional crisis in which Haiti is presently mired. The situation of institutional collapse with the executive, legislature and judiciary having become dysfunctional at different times and for different reasons is unprecedented. There is, consequently, no constitutional or legal way of filling the present institutional void in the absence of elections.
The preceding meetings of senior officials have been extremely useful in helping to identify areas and details of the assistance which Haiti’s international partners are willing to provide. Particular attention has been placed on the security area, as well as on the political and economic. They are all deeply interlinked.
In the area of security, where the situation continues to deteriorate, helping to strengthen the capacities and professionalism of the Haitian National Police through training, the provision of equipment and materiel, as well as improve logistics and infrastructure have been highlighted as a priority. The Caribbean Community has indicated already its ability to provide training and capacity building through current and planned initiatives of its Implementation Agency for Crime and Security (IMPACS). Individual member states such as The Bahamas are also in a position to provide training as has been done in the past.
On the political side, this meeting is timely as the constitutional clock ticks down to 7 February 2022. The Haitians have demonstrated the will to put in place a Haitian solution to the crisis. A number of building blocks have been assembled by different civil society and political groupings, some more-broad-based and structured than others. They all seek the same objective, the establishment of a transitional government leading to elections. Constituting these groupings has required inter-Haitian negotiations and concessions, some quite painstaking. There is still some distance to go for the intra-Haitian dialogue to come to fruition, but this display of sovereignty should be respected by the international community.
In their engagements with the Haitian leadership, the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community continue to express their willingness to offer their good offices. They have also offered assistance in a number of key areas. Elections will be required at the earliest possible time to restore the integrity and legitimacy of the dysfunctional institutions and the continuity of the state. This is an area where the Community has assisted in the past and is ready to do so again. These issues need to be addressed in order to ensure enabling conditions without which there can be no transparent, inclusive, and secure free and fair elections. This includes: curbing insecurity, eliminating voter disenfranchisement and enhancing transparency, impartiality and popular confidence.
The Caribbean Community is of the view that the international community in its efforts to assist Haiti needs to go beyond strengthening the police and the judiciary. Without social and economic development through a long-term development plan, Haiti will not enjoy peacefulness. In addition, the hollowed-out state and public administration need to be strengthened so that they are in a position to provide the public goods expected of the state, and without which it will enjoy neither the trust of its people nor legitimacy. Public administration is an area in which the Community has provided training in the past. CARICOM also looks forward to Haiti involving itself more deeply in and benefitting from the functional cooperation as well as the trade and economic workings of the Community.
I thank you.