Special Unit For CARICOM Haiti Assistance

Paramaribo, Suriname -The Bureau of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has mandated the CARICOM Secretariat to establish a small dedicated unit to co-ordinate CARICOM’s continued assistance to Haiti over the long term in the wake of the catastrophic earthquake which struck that country on January 12.

The extended Bureau met in Paramaribo, Suriname, on Friday, hours before the start of a two-day Special Summit on Youth, to discuss principally the situation in Haiti.

The Heads of Government received reports from CARICOM Assistant Secretary- General, Foreign and Community Relations, Ambassador Colin Granderson, and Executive Director of the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), Mr Jeremy Collymore, on the situation in Haiti and CARICOM’S relief efforts. Both Mr Granderson and Mr Collymore were recently in Haiti and they also attended a Coordination Committee Meeting in Montreal, Canada, on January 25 which laid the groundwork for an international conference on the reconstruction of Haiti.

Ambassador Colin Granderson, CARICOM Assistant Secretary-General, Foreign and Community Relations, will lead the unit which will liaise with CDEMA and other agencies involved in the CARICOM response to the disaster. Member States and Associate Members will be asked to identify focal points to work with the unit. The unit will work closely with CARICOM’s special envoy on Haiti, the former Prime Minister of Jamaica, Most Honourable P.J. Patterson.

The Bureau also agreed on ensuring the continued operations in Haiti of the Jamaica contingent which has been on the ground since Wednesday, January 13 underpinning the CARICOM relief effort. Jamaica is the sub-regional focal point in the regional disaster response system established by CDEMA, the regional response mechanism.

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