CARCOM Secretary-General Ambassador Irwin LaRocque and Haiti’s Foreign Minister, Laurent Lamothe signed the MOU identifying a number of areas in which CARICOM can assist Haiti.
The President of Suriname and Chairman of CARICOM Desi Bouterse led the delegation which also included Dr. Denzil Douglas, Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis; Phillip Pierre, Deputy Prime Minister of Saint Lucia and Secretary-General LaRocque were the other members of the Bureau on the mission.
The Special representative of the Heads of Government on Haiti, PJ Patterson former Prime Minister of Jamaica was also a member of the delegation.
The delegation met with Michel Martelly, President of Haiti and there was agreement that the support of CARICOM was of vital importance for Haiti, and for the Community itself. Among the areas agreed upon are: capacity building in government agencies for investment; technical assistance in education, agriculture, public health, transportation, tourism among others and youth exchange initiatives.
President Bouterse said at a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, the visit had been most rewarding as the Bureau heard from the President, the Cabinet, the private sector, and parliament how they would wish CARICOM to work with them in the rebuilding and further development of the country.
He urged the Haitian business community to take better advantage of the agreement that allows some products to enter the rest of CARICOM duty free, for a three year period which began last year. The CARICOM Chairman also assured the private sector that the Bureau would encourage those Member States that had not yet done so, to implement the decision of the Heads of Government to allow entry for those business persons with visas from the United States, Canada and the Schengen Area, entry into their state.
The Chairman also announced that “as part of our ongoing assistance to Haiti, a consignment of three containers of anti-cholera drugs provided by the Community was delivered two days ago to the Ministry of Health, in the fight against the epidemic.