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External Affairs Minister Reports Progress Over Latest OAS Mission to Haiti

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Contact: John Emmanuel

Thursday, May 23, 2002 - St. Lucia’s External Affairs Minister, Senator Julian Hunte, has been reporting on his latest visit to Haiti. He was accompanied by the Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS). Minister Hunte says the visit tested the waters concerning the resumption of talks between the two political parties in Haiti, leading to the signing of an accord that would pave the way for general elections.

“Surfeit to say we were able to fix a date of June 10th, 2002 and all the signs are that despite the fact that there are still problems, an accord will have to be signed if this process is to move forward,” said Senator Hunte.

The OAS has set up three committees: one deals with the structures of justice, governance and security in Haiti, a Reparations Committee dealing with compensating individuals whose property was damaged as a result of the attempted coup d’etat on December 17, 2001 and an International Committee investigating the events leading up to the coup.

According to the External Affairs Minister who is also responsible for International Trade, “when we got to Haiti we found the Opposition Party still very adamant in that they wanted certain preconditions dealing with security met before they could agree to resuming these discussions. We were able to point out to them that under no circumstances would we take on board any preconditions although we recognize the fact that security as a whole in Haiti is a problem and that work will have to be done on that particular issue so that we have included security as a substantive part of the discussions but not as a precondition. I think that since our meeting and the report made to the Secretary General of the OAS, he has come down well on the side of ensuring that the talks are resumed while making it clear that he will not allow the opposition to block any further talks.”

Haiti’s parliament only recently approved the instruments allowing it to become a full-fledged member of the regional grouping CARICOM. Minister Hunte says Haiti’s membership in CARICOM will allow that organisation to intervene more confidently when asked to assist Haiti in a number of areas.


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