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a720: Bahamas' PM: US must be more flexible towards Haiti (fwd)

From: Daniel Schweissing <dan_schweissing@hotmail.com>

PM says relaxed U.S. policies would help Haiti's problem

Released Saturday, February 9, 2002 at 10:03 am EST by Keva Lightbourne


Guardian Staff Reporter

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said Thursday that the United States needs to
be more flexible in its policies toward Haiti.

He called on the U.S. to support the release of some of the international
funding for the Haitians which has been blocked primarily because of the
U.S. influences and its votes in the Inter-American Development Bank.

"What is very interesting is while the United States does not have the veto
power in the IDB (because it has less than 30 percent of the voting
capacity), the reality is if the United States is opposed to it, the funds
won't be released," Ingraham said.

Ingraham was speaking at a media briefing with editors from The Nassau
Guardian at his Cabinet Office, before meeting with United States Secretary
of State Colin Powell.

"Unless something happens in Haiti to give hope to the Haitian people,
larger numbers of them are going to be coming out and that is what we are
seeing," Ingraham said.

He revealed that the United States would be providing some additional
assistance with respect to patrols off the Northern Coast of Haiti and off
Inagua (Bahamas) in cooperation and collaboration with the Defence Force

"The reality is that only so many of them want to come to The Bahamas. Many
of them want to go to the United States of America, and so the United States
has a self-interest in making sure that things get better in Haiti," he

Meantime, after a two-hour meeting with Caribbean Community (CARICOM)
Foreign Ministers on Thursday, Powell said the U.S. insisted that Haiti
resolved its political problems before any funds would be released.

He noted that the U.S. government in recent years, has been willing to
support assistance to Haiti, that goes directly to non-governmental and
private organisations.

"Our concern is that there is a political crisis in Haiti and until that
political crisis is resolved and the international financial institutions
and communities have some confidence in the government of Haiti to make best
use of the funds that might be made available to it, then we have
reservations about providing advice for this kind of assistance," Powell

Since the beginning of the year, the Royal Bahamas Defence Force apprehended
more than 800 illegal immigrants in Bahamian waters. And, the Immigration
Department has spent in excess of $200,000 in direct repatriation exercises.

Copyright (c) 2001 by Nassau Guardian

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