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External Affairs Minister says International Community must Rethink Withholding Aid to Haiti

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Contact: John Emmanuel

Wednesday, February 13, 2002 - St. Lucia’s External Affairs Minister Honourable Julian Hunte is calling on the international community to rethink its strategy of withholding aid from the neighbouring Caribbean island of Haiti. His comments come on the heels of announcements by the United Nations that it is considering the possibility of stopping aid to Haiti until it conforms to certain democratic principles. Senator Hunte says there are moves in Haiti towards accepting conditions being demanded by the international community.

Senator Hunte last month led a regional delegation to Haiti to hold talks with over a dozen social, economic and political groups in that country. Minister Hunte has thus far submitted his findings to CARICOM Heads and has also presented the CARICOM report to U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell.

“I pointed out that there were moves in Haiti concerning progress or a movement towards their accepting democratic principles and that they were prepared to accept the conditions laid down by the Organization American States (OAS) to look into the incidents of December 17, 2001 - the alleged attempted coup d'état, the violence associated with the destruction of life and property and the death or assassination of a prominent journalist - and they are prepared to examine all of this.” said Senator Hunte.

“Concerning the OAS call for a judicial enquiry, we were able to get President Jean Bertrand Aristide to accept that it was not enough just to hold a judicial enquiry but in fact what was needed was an international enquiry in which CARICOM would participate actively,” he added.

The External Affairs Minister says the appointment of a Prime Minister for the country who would be acceptable to all sides was agreed upon, in order to bring about an all-inclusive government. Senator Hunte says there are tentative plans for a follow-up meeting in St. Lucia to discuss Haiti with the Deputy Assistant Secretary General of the OAS, Prime Minister Honourable Dr. Kenny Anthony who is CARICOM’s point man responsible for justice and governance, and the Foreign Ministry.

Minister Hunte is of the firm conviction that a definite plan of action on the way forward for Haiti, needs to be ironed out, before any CARICOM Observer Mission returns to that Caribbean country.


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