(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen Greater Georgetown,
Guyana) The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) is to
provide direct financial support to Haiti in
recognition of the importance of channelling
resources through the government of Haiti and as a
demonstration of the Community’s confidence in the
The Community is also calling on the
international community to demonstrate a greater
level of confidence in Haiti to move its
reconstruction process forward.
Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of
Dominica and Chairman of the Conference of Heads of
Government speaking at a press conference at the
conclusion of the 21st Intersessional Meeting of the
CARICOM Leaders, warned that without funding being
channeled to the government of Haiti to conduct its
rebuilding, the peace required to move the country
forward may be absent since the situation can be
exacerbated by social and political unrest.
The Community is hoping to raise about US$6M. His
Excellent Bharrat Jagdeo, President of Guyana said
that the Community was more than likely to revise
its health initiative to take into account the more
immediate needs of Haiti.
Member States have, however, pledged separate
sums of money to Haiti that could exceed the US$6M
In February 2010 the Community made health its
primary focus in the aftermath of the catastrophic
earthquake which struck Haiti on 12 January. At the
request of Haiti, the Community’s Mission had
shifted its operations to Leogane, a Community on
the outskirts of Port-au-Prince.
But on Friday, following discussions with His
Excellency Rene Preval, President of Haiti, the
Conference decided that it would provide direct
support to Haiti to help bridge the budgetary gap.
President Preval told representatives of the
media earlier on Friday that there was need for
budgetary support to the tune of US$350M and had
sought CARICOM’s help in accessing the money from
the International Financial Institutions (IFIs).
Haiti’s revenue base, President Preval indicated,
had diminished by 80 per cent with the remaining 20
percent was enough to cover payment to only half of
the public sector.
Haiti topped the Meeting’s formidable agenda and
was at the centre of discussions during the
exchanges with the President of the World Bank, the
President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)
and the Secretary-General of the Organisation of
American States (OAS).
According to Prime Minister Skerrit, the “frank
exchanges” with the representatives of the
international financial institutions included tax
havens with the World Bank agreeing to be an “honest
broker”; climate change, an area of critical
importance to the Region; management of the Region’s
debt; and water.
With regard to the water, Prime Minister Skerrit
said that a joint meeting of the Councils for Trade
and Economic Development and Human and Social
Development will be held prior to the Meeting of the
Conference of Heads of Government n July, to assess
the current drought situation and identify measures
to be put in place to sustainably manage water.
Member States across the Region have been hard
hit by a prolonged dry spell blamed on the El Nino