GINA, GUYANA, Thursday, February 16, 2017
Haiti’s new President Jovenel Moise was warmly welcomed by Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders as he attended his first meeting of the regional body in Georgetown, Guyana.
The Heads of Government and delegations are currently gathered at the Marriott Hotel for the Twenty-Eight Inter-Sessional meeting of CARICOM.
CARICOM’s Ambassador Irwin La Rocque, Prime Minister of Dominica and outgoing Chairman of CARICOM Roosevelt Skerrit and
President of Guyana and Chairman of CARICOM, David Granger each addressed Moise’s recent victory at the Haitian polls, during the ceremonial opening of the conference this morning.
The regional Heads also pledged their support to Moise and the Haitian people.
“Mr. President your clear-cut victory, in the first round of elections, was an indication of the confidence that your people have in your ability to lead them to a better life. I look forward to working closely with you and your administration, towards Haiti’s further integration into CARICOM,” LaRocque said in his remarks.
Prime Minister Skerrit said that he is looking for “fresh insight” that Moise will bring to the CARICOM deliberations. “Your victory at the polls is a reflection of your nation’s faith in your leadership, and we would work closely with you to fulfill the aspiration of the Haitian people,” Prime Minister Skerrit pledged.
Meanwhile, President David Granger, who attended Moise’s inauguration, said that he was inspired by the Haitian president’s passion and commitment to his people and the region.
“The Republic of Haiti is the Caribbean’s oldest Independent state; it is the CARICOM’s most populist member, and its largest market. We look forward to strengthening our fraternal ties. We look forward to Haiti’s continued participation in our community’s works,” President Granger said.
Moise was sworn in as Haiti’s 58th president, on February 7, 2017. The 48-year-old banana exporter, who has never held political office, initially won the first round of voting in October 2015, but the results were subsequently annulled amid allegations of massive fraud.
The elections were further postponed in October after Hurricane Matthew battered the country, killing hundreds and causing extensive damage. Moise won the subsequent election held in November 2016 with 55 per cent of the votes.
Haiti’s process of joining CARICOM began in 1997, but the country was not admitted as a full member until 1999, and final accession was only ratified by the Haitian Parliament on May 13, 2002. The then President Jean Bertrand Aristide signed the revised Treaty of Chaguaramas on July 4, 2003, and trade between Haiti and the other countries of the region officially began on January 1, 2004.
The Lavalas Family party government however collapsed and was replaced by an interim government administration in March 2004. Subsequent to this, a decision was taken by the Caribbean leaders that Haiti would not be invited to participate in CARICOM meetings, on the grounds that the interim administration could not be accepted as a legitimate representative of the Haitian people.
With the election of a new President, René Préval and a new legislature, CARICOM leaders hailed the return of democracy and welcomed Haiti back into the organisation, bringing an end to a suspension that lasted more than two years.
Haiti, the 15th member of CARICOM has the largest population, but it is also the poorest member of organisation.
By: Macalia Santos