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a706: Head of Caribbean Community criticizes U.S. stance on Haiti

From: JD Lemieux <lxhaiti@yahoo.com>

Head of Caribbean Community criticizes U.S. stance on

Associated Press
Posted February 8 2002, 2:29 PM EST

NASSAU, Bahamas -- The leader of the 14-member
Caribbean Community criticized the U.S. stance toward
Haiti after U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell said
during a visit that the United States isn't ready to
resume aid to the country.

``The U.S. position in my view is not tactically
correct,'' Secretary General Edwin Carrington said
Thursday after meeting with Powell.

Foreign donors including the United States have frozen
hundreds of millions of dollars in aid to Haiti
because President Jean-Bertrand Aristide's party and
the opposition have been unable to agree on conditions
for fresh elections following flawed local and
legislative elections in 2000.

``What you have is a situation where you never get
what you call all parties agreeing. Now if the U.S. is
waiting for all parties agreeing, you might as well
call it a day. It is not going to happen,'' Carrington

The United States set aside dlrs 55 million in
humanitarian aid for Haiti's government in this year's
budget, channeling nearly all of it through
nongovernment groups. The U.S. administration is
reluctant to see any money released directly to the
Caribbean nation until it sees more political reform.

Powell, who met with Caribbean Community leaders in
the Bahamas on Thursday, said: ``We do not believe
enough has been done yet to move the political process
forward to assure ourselves that additional aid will
be used in the most effective way at this time.''

Bahamian Foreign Minster Janet Bostwick said the
Bahamas, like the United States, wants to see
political problems in Haiti resolved because they are
contributing to a surge in Haitian migration to
Bahamian shores.

Bostwick said she told Powell that the rise of
arrivals in recent months has put stresses on Bahamian
social services and increased ``the possible threat to
the stability of our country.''

In January alone, Bahamian authorities detained 861
Haitians, compared with 570 in January 2001. It is a
dangerous trip, often made in boats crowded beyond
capacity. At least 14 Haitians drowned last month when
their boat capsized off the Bahamas.

Rudy Insanally, foreign affairs minister of Guyana and
a spokesman for the Caribbean Community, said recent
actions by Aristide are in the right direction and
Haiti should be given money to build the democratic
pillars demanded by donors.

Copyright  2002, South Florida Sun-Sentinel

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