CARICOM States reiterate sustained support for Haiti's developmentListen /
The positioning of Haiti as a democratic, stable and economically viable country continued to be a matter of utmost importance.
That's what Ambassador Paulette Bethel of The Bahamas told the Economic and Social Council as it heard a report of the Ad Hoc Advisory Group on Haiti.
She was speaking on behalf of the Caribbean Community-CARICOM.
Ms. Bethel : CARICOM is heartened by the progress that Haiti has made over the two years since the devastating earthquake. There remains however, the need for sustained support in order to reinforce those gains. The welfare and survival of the people of Haiti demand our long-term engagement. Mr. President, earlier this year, CARICOM and Haiti signed a Memorandum of Understanding which underscores the fact that the support of CARICOM is of vital importance for Haiti and for the community itself. Among the areas agreed upon in the MOU are: capacity-building in government agencies for investment; technical assistance in education, agriculture, public health, transportation and tourism, among others, as well as youth exchange initiatives. The MOU also allows some products to enter other CARICOM countries duty-free for a three-year period. At the annual summit earlier this, year, the CARICOM Heads of Government agreed to establish a Haiti-CARICOM Working Group that is scheduled to meet ….in order to develop a course of action for the implementation and resourcing of the Haiti-CARICOM Memorandum of Understanding. This MOU is clearly indicative of CARICOM's commitment to work with the president of Haiti, the Cabinet and the Parliament and the private sector to determine how they would wish CARICOM to collaborate with them in the rebuilding and further development of their country.
Ambassador Bethel said that as the region's member states work collectively toward a viable future for Haiti, CARICOM has undertaken a number of ongoing initiatives to provide a sustainable economic future for the Haitian people.
Ms. Bethel: It is our firm belief that Haiti's long-term economic recovery and its full integration within the CARICOM Single Market and Economy will redound to the benefit of the entire region. CARICOM is making strenuous efforts to enable Haiti to function within the CARICOM Single Market and Economy. This support includes facilitating the travel by Haitians particularly its business persons. Emphasis is likewise being given through the CARICOM Regional Organization for Standards and Quality to functional cooperation for the strengthening of Haiti's institutional capacity for standards and other normative measures. The region also has technical expertise that can be shared with Haiti in the fields of agriculture, marine resources management and community development through the cooperative movement. Equally, the region can also benefit from Haiti's rich and internationally-renowned art and cultural heritage. CARICOM remains steadfast in its determination that Haiti will not be left behind but rather be counted on as an invaluable and contributive member of our regional group and indeed, of the wider international community. Ultimately, Haiti's success will be a gauge of the region's success.
This is Donn Bobb reporting.