CARICOM leaders at the Summit, held in Grand Anse, Grenada, signalled that the Community’s support to Haiti remained “strong,” as the country emerged from the rubble of the 12 January 2010 earthquake and the recent outbreak of cholera.
The communiqué, issued following the February 25-26 meeting, stated that the leaders had reviewed the situation in Haiti with the assistance of His Excellency José Miguel Insulza, Secretary-General of the Organisation of American States (OAS) and the Special Representative on Haiti, Most Hon. P. J. Patterson. The regional leaders restated their commitment to provide support to augment Haiti’s institutional capacity and to make available professional and technical expertise especially in the short to medium term.
Noting the abating of the cholera epidemic, CARICOM leaders congratulated the Government of Haiti and international development partners on their efforts at controlling the disease.
In an effort to strengthen the country’s ability to effectively participate in all aspects of the Caribbean Community, including the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME), the Heads of Government anticipated Haiti’s utilisation of a three year one-way duty free concession granted by the Council of Trade and Economic Development (COTED).
COTED in December 2009, had agreed to a temporary trade concession arrangement under which Haiti will be able to export within the Single Market on a non-reciprocal preferential basis for the three- year period.
In the spirit of support to Haiti, CARICOM Heads of Government requested that COTED look at the possibility of expanding the list of products at the earliest opportunity.
Further, they urged the CARICOM private sector to collaborate and take advantage of the opportunities offered by Haiti to strengthen the country’s and the Region’s position in regional and external markets.
In this regard, they Heads of Government signalled their support of the creation of a CARICOM Special Fund for Private Sector Investment on Haiti to facilitate Caribbean private sector investments in developmental activities in the French Speaking Member State. They also agreed to encourage the private sector, including members of the Diaspora, through appropriate incentives, to contribute generously to the Fund.
As His Excellency René Préval, President of Haiti prepared to demit office, he expressed his deep appreciation to his colleagues for the support provided by the Community to Haiti during his tenure and for standing side by side with Haiti, following the calamities of 2010.