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7140: President Aristide's speech before CARICOM (fwd)
SPEECH OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE REPUBLIC OF HAITI
MR. JEAN-BERTRAND ARISTIDE
Twelfth Intersessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of State and
government of the CARICOM, St. Michael, Barbados, Feb. 16, 2001
Your Excellencies, the Heads of Government of the CARICOM,
What a pleasure it is to be with you today for the Twelfth Intersessional
Meeting of the Conference of Heads of State and Government of the CARICOM.
Across the beautiful blue waters of the Caribbean, there is a bridge that
unites the people of our 80 islands. It is a bridge firmly rooted in a
culture of cooperation, mutual respect and dignity. After first setting the
course of liberty for all people in 1804, Haiti has, time and time again,
relied on this shared culture as we move forward in our democratic process.
We are always grateful for the support received from CARICOM.
As you know, nine days ago, we celebrated Haiti's second transition from one
democratically elected government to the next; only the second time in our
nearly 200-year history for this to happen. A spirit of peace and forward
movement permeated the day. I take this occasion to thank Prime Minister
Saïd and Ambassador Rahmdin, Assistant Secretary General of CARICOM, for
being with us last week.
In my inaugural speech, I took care to repeat several times that I am
President of all Haitians without exception; that dialogue is the key to
unlocking our political and economic impasse; and that we intend to move
towards an open, broad based government to best serve the needs and interests
of all Haitians. In the 9 days since taking office, these principles have
been consistently reaffirmed. We are encouraged by positive signals already
being sent by the Civil Society. We continue to move steadily to finalize
commitments that are widely recognized as sine qua non to the resolution of
In this same spirit of peace and forward movement, I am honored that one of
my first tasks as President is to participate in this meeting and continue a
process begun by my predecessor, President René Préval.
Let me take this opportunity to reiterate my support to the commitments made
by President Préval in his letter to Prime Minister Panday confirming the
terms and conditions of Haiti's accession to CARICOM.
To advance these commitments, the Haitian Government has taken an important
step by setting up a CARICOM Affairs Bureau with the objectives of:
Helping the Public Sector in the process of implementing the CARICOM
Providing information and technical support to the Private Sector to ensure
an efficient integration of that sector into the Community;
Working with CARICOM entities to facilitate an efficient participation of
Haiti to the different organs of the Community;
Sensitizing the Civil Society to the benefits of Haiti's integration into
We are grateful to the Conference for its decision to establish a CARICOM
Affairs Office in Haiti, and for its commitment to provide technical
assistance once the ratification of the terms and conditions is effective.
What remains now is the ratification of the terms and conditions of Haiti's
accession to CARICOM by the 47th Legislature. We will do our best to ensure
that this ratification occurs quickly as Haiti's membership in CARICOM
reinforces our government's commitment to strengthen private / public
partnership and stimulate economic growth. It is in line with our will to
open Haiti to a foreign investment that can create new jobs, synergize our
national production and combat poverty in our country.
An economically stronger Haiti will make for a stronger CARICOM. We know
that the road to this stronger Haiti must pass through negotiations;
negotiations to dissipate the political tensions and trigger the release of
international funds which can put in motion our economic policy outlined on
It is our profound belief that if together we draw from our common Caribbean
heritage of cooperation, mutual respect and dignity we can together meet the
challenges that face our people at start of this new millennium.