President Martelly made his plea on Thursday, 30th June, at the opening ceremony of the 32nd Meeting of CARICOM, now taking place in St. Kitts & Nevis.
As if to promote his point, the president made his maiden speech to the body on Thursday, speaking in French, though he began his opening comments in English.
Martelly told his colleague Heads of Government that the CARICOM integration system is one of the most advanced in the hemisphere, but it is also the only one in the world where English is the sole language (and) where 50 per cent of its population is French and Creole speaking.
Martelly continued by stating, “We hope that our friends and colleagues will understand our apprehension and will support this legitimate demand.” The President also used his address to reassure the region that his country remains committed to the ideals of CARICOM.
Martelly said that as a sign of Haiti’s growing interest in CARICOM, it will do its best to activate itself more into the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME) that allows for the free movement of goods, skills, labour and services across the region.
“We will do our best to activate this process so that the Haitian economy will integrate in a short term basis, the other economies of CARICOM states in the special areas of agriculture, industry and services.
“We are more than willing to offer to the CARICOM investors a stable environment to participate in the sustainable economical and developmental growth of Haiti,” he said as he took the opportunity to that CARICOM for the preferential tariff for certain Haitian products in the regional market.
Martelly said that in 2009, the Haitian parliament had ratified and harmonized about 40 percent of the Haitian tariff under the Common External Tariff (CET) and that his administration would be working to get the remaining 60 percent approved.