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CARICOM at full strength with re-entry of Haiti

BASSATERRE, St. Kitts -(JIS) – Prime Minister, Portia Simpson Miller, has said the return of Haiti to CARICOM, has restored the full strength of the regional bloc.

Mrs. Simpson Miller, who was speaking at the opening of the 27th Regular Meeting of the Caribbean Heads of Government in St. Kitts and Nevis yesterday (July 3), noted that Haiti’s re-entry served to “reaffirm that the democratic traditions of the Caribbean remain entrenched in the political fabric of our Community”.

She said that the region must look ahead to a future with Haiti taking its rightful place in CARICOM, when it became “a full participant in the CSME (CARICOM Single Market and Economy)”.

The Prime Minister further pledged Jamaica’s readiness to work with the Haitian government “in identifying areas in which we could strengthen our assistance”.

Haiti’s membership in the Caribbean Community was suspended after a bloody revolt in 2004, which led to former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, fleeing the country. Haiti became eligible to legitimately rejoin the Caribbean Community after democratically held elections earlier this year.

In his presentation at the opening ceremony, new President of Haiti, Rene Preval, noted that, “after years of unrest, Haiti has been able to find constitutional normality once again”.

He noted a new regime has been put in place as a result of the elections in February and April 2006 and indicated that the political process would be completed soon, with the holding of municipal and local elections.

President Preval expressed the hope that by the end of his tenure in 2011, “the Republic of Haiti would have taken decisive steps on the long and difficult road to democratic stability and sustainable development”.

He indicated that he would contribute to the process over the next five years, by working to strengthen ties between his country and CARICOM. President Preval also promised to work with his counterparts “for the advent of a Caribbean, which will be more brotherly, stronger and more united when faced with mutual challenges”.

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