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CARICOM re-opens office in Haiti

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti – His Excellency René Préval the President of the Republic of Haiti delivered the feature address when the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) re-opened its Representational Office in Haiti, in Port-au-Prince on Friday, October 19.

The ceremony took place at new premises at 22 Rue Mercier, and also addressing the opening will be Senator Tyrone Barker, Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Finance of Barbados who will represent CARICOM Chairman, the Prime Minister of Barbados, the Rt. Hon. Owen Arthur, the Secretary-General of CARICOM, His Excellency Edwin Carrington and Mr. Dennis Robert representing the Ambassador of Canada to Haiti.

The CARICOM Representational Office (CRO) is being re-opened with the support of the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), three years after it was closed following the interruption of democratic governance in 2004.

The office was then located in the Embassy of The Bahamas and had been established at that time with the support of the government of the Kingdom of Norway.

Ambassador Earl Huntley, a national of Saint Lucia, will be in charge of the CRO. Ambassador Huntley is a diplomat and administrator with wide experience. Among other positions, Ambassador Huntley has been the Permanent Representative of his country to the United Nations, Ambassador to the Caribbean Community and head of Saint Lucia’s Foreign Service.

The CRO is being established to: facilitate more speedily the integration of Haiti into CARICOM, with particular emphasis on the Single Market and Economy; identify and mobilize domestic, financial and other resources; promote relations with the media; and undertake public education programs.

Secretary-General Carrington in expressing his pleasure at the re-opening of the office said: “The ratification by the Haitian Parliament of the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas including the Single Market and the Economy and the re-opening of the Representational Office within two weeks of each other augur well for the quickening of the pace of the fuller integration of Haiti into CARICOM.”

Deputy Secretary-General of CARICOM, Her Excellency Ambassador Lolita Applewhaite, who has been spearheading the arrangements for the re-opening of the office, had a special word of thanks for CIDA whose support for the CRO is part of a wider project, the “CARICOM Trade and Competitiveness Project”.

“Among the goals of the project is to assist Haiti to prepare itself for full participation in the CSME. This is being done within the context of the wider goal to provide more and better opportunities for the people of CARICOM to participate in and benefit from the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME). It also should enable all CARICOM citizens to understand, participate and actively engage in economic activities,” the Deputy Secretary-General said.

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