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Mr. Chairman,
Mr. Secretary-General.
Mr. Assistant Secretary-General,
Distinguished Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

It is my pleasure to present on behalf of the Caribbean Community, CARICOM, the following statement on the region’s position on Haiti following recent political developments in that country.

I would like to start thanking the Secretary General for the presentation of the report on the OAS Mission to Haiti and remarks on recent developments in that country. We express also our appreciation for the involvement, role and commitment of the Organization of American States, in particular the Secretary General, and we call on the organisation to make every effort to support the process of strengthening democracy and democratic institutions in Haiti, so that no one can accuse our organisation of double standards.

We also thank the representative of Haiti for his statement.

The CARICOM region, through a high level representative from the Secretariat, participated in the most recent mission to Haiti, in light of our continuing efforts to support the people of that long-suffering Caribbean country.

We in the Caribbean Community feel a very special affinity with our Haitian brothers and sisters, in their legitimate aspirations, activities and continuing struggle, to create a democratic and prosperous society.

We were pleased to be part of these activities, as part of our on going participation within this hemispheric organization in discussions and decision making on Haiti.

CARICOM firmly believes that with regard to Haiti all the multilateral institutions involved in the process of democratization, including the United Nations, the Organization of American States and the Caribbean Community, should continue to perform their specific roles, in collaboration, as agreed.

Mr. Chairman,

Distinguished Delegates,

In the past twelve months the Caribbean Community has been involved with Haiti, at the highest political levels, through diplomatic efforts and technical assistance. This involvement is a clear expression of our commitment to the People of Haiti in their long-term aspirations for social and economic development.

During this involvement we have come to learn that understanding the complicated political reality and subsequently drawing the most reasonable conclusions, is not always an easy task. We have to understand that Haiti’s political reality has a strong historical background.

CARICOM has been disappointed in the recent past in the efforts from the Haitian authorities and political key players to accommodate a more transparent electoral process.

We are pleased with and encouraged by the statement of the Haitian representative during his presentation that the President of the Republic has assured him that the Government will proceed on the basis of genuine dialogue with regard to the upcoming Presidential elections.

We have taken note, with concern, that up-to-date no efforts were made to find a resolution on the different interpretations of the electoral law; subsequently we were confronted with the holding of the second round of the legislative elections. We have to recognize that the deficiencies of the May 21st elections are still considered a major problem.

Given its critical role and function, the CEP should be a credible and respected representative structure. This situation seems not to exist at this point in time and constructive efforts by the Government of Haiti are needed in this regard. We regret that the indications from the most prominent political player to support a change in this direction did not materialize.

More recently, CARICOM was surprised in a negative way by the decision of the Haitian political leaders to continue with the swearing in of the newly elected members of the Senate. Some of them are disputed, based on the method used to determine their election. Especially the absence of the opposition at the first seating of the Assembly was noted with concern.

I wish to express CARICOM’s satisfaction with the high level of participation of the Haitian People in the elections of May 21st. They deserve to be encouraged.

Since the OAS Mission left Haiti, we have not seen any effort from the Haitian Government to initiate the promised dialogue with the political parties and other segments of the Haitian society.

CARICOM firmly believes that the only way to resolve the current political difficulties, is through a committed process of dialogue between the principal players in the Haitian society.

CARICOM also firmly believes that this dialogue should be a Haitian initiative as a national effort to contribute to the resolution of the political impasse. As expressed in an earlier statement to the Permanent Council, CARICOM stands ready to facilitate this process of dialogue, if necessary and if invited to do so by the Haitian authorities.

This dialogue is also necessary in light of the upcoming Presidential elections. It would be devastating for Haiti if the Presidential elections are confronted with the same difficulties as those encountered after the legislative elections of 21st May.

I therefore reiterate CARICOM’s expectations that the promise of dialogue, expressed by the Haitian delegation this morning, will be expeditiously implemented.

Mr. Chairman,

CARICOM will remain engaged in the process of finding an acceptable resolution of the political and electoral problems in the sister nation of Haiti. CARICOM considers Haiti as a member of the Community and as such will continue its consultative and facilitative efforts with the Haitian Government and the Haitian People at the highest political and diplomatic levels. We feel that there is still an opportunity for more private dialogue and political consultations.

It is with this in our minds that we look forward to the response from the Haitian Government and the key political players on the initiatives developed during the OAS Mission. We should therefore refrain, at this point in time, from follow up resolutions. We should give the process which was initiated by the OAS Mission a chance to work. We call on the Group of Friends of Haiti and our other colleagues in this august body to follow the same line.

CARICOM’s responsible political leaders are fully kept informed about the developments in Haiti and the actions from the international community towards this country. It is expected that shortly these leaders will assess the situation in Haiti. After those consultations further guidance from the sub-region in this process will be provided.

Finally, Mr. Chairman, we believe that it is good that concern is being expressed with regard to the political and electoral developments in Haiti. It demonstrates that the international community, the hemisphere and the region remains interested and engaged in Haiti.

We are pleased with this situation and we call on all parties to continue to be constructively involved in Haiti. We believe that these efforts should not be limited to the strengthening of the political and electoral process, but also on more long-term objectives of social and economic development, to the benefit and future of the People of Haiti. Any other response may result in unexpected and undesirable results, harming the innocent People of Haiti.

It is in this that we as members of the Caribbean Community find the inspiration to continue to believe in a constructive settlement of the experienced difficulties in Haiti.

Thank you.

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