The Renaissance of Haiti: A Template for Caribbean Integration
by Alicia M. Phidd, Esq.
Part I of III: In Unity There is Strength
MIAMI – It was an evening befitting the motto of Haiti, translated “In Unity There is Strength.” Last night a private reception held at the Consulate General of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Miami, Florida in honor of the Honorable P J Patterson, former Prime Minister of Jamaica was a microcosm of the Caribbean.
The Most Hon. Percival James Patterson, O.N., O.C.C., P.C., Q.C., was appointed by the heads of Caricom as the special representative of the Caribbean Community on Haiti.
Prime Minister Patterson was in town as the guest speaker at the 12th Annual Eric E. Williams Memorial Lecture held on October 15, 2010 at Florida International University. The Eric E. Williams Memorial Lecture Series is presented through a collaborative effort of the Eric Williams Memorial Collection, African & African Diaspora Studies and the School of International and Public Affairs at F.I.U. Erica Williams Connell the daughter of Eric Williams and the Executive at the Memorial Collection stood proud as she observed the legacy of her father, a pioneer for the Caribbean.
The evening started with the Chair of Caricom Consular Corp. Haiti’s own Consul General Ralph Latortue welcoming the attendees and honoring the prime minister. CG Latortue’s standing at the podium was significant for the moment and historical for the future because it was in recent years that Haiti became a full member of Caricom. Although Haiti has been a member on and off throughout the years, it was the Hon. P J Patterson during his tenure that helped to solidify Haiti’s position with Caricom. Prime Minister Patterson spoke briefly but not without hinting that Miami may very well be a Caribbean City.
The room was filled with local politicians and Island Consuls General representing, Bahamas, Belize, Haiti, Jamaica and Trinidad. Consul General Laurie Marie West of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago addressed those in attendance. She emphasized that the night with all the wonderful delicacies depicting the cuisine of Trinidad and the rest of the Caribbean was a result of the concerted effort of the Caribbean community.
After a series of speakers such as mayors and council members representing local government, Dr. Carole Boyce Davies read a litany of proclamations. It was a great feeling throughout the evening as the community celebrates the coming together of the Diaspora to support the reconstruction of Haiti.
I would be remiss if I did not mention that in attendance were Marlon Hill, Esq. one of the founders of the Caribbean Bar Association (CBA), current President of the CBA Sheldon Philp, Esq., immediate Past President Cherine Valbrun, Esq., Hulbert H. James of the Diaspora Project, President of the Grenadian Association, Roslyn Alic-Batson, Pat Montaque of WAVS 1170 AM, Executive body of the Lily Foundation for Human Development, Kaye Chung of Caribbean Airways- Air Jamaica and last but not least, Cheryl Wynter of Jamaica Information Service.
It was an honor for me to have interviewed the former Prime Minister of Jamaica along with the Consuls General and I will report on those interviews in Part III of this article.
Alicia M. Phidd, M.P.S., J.D.
Business Consultant/Attorney at Law/Business Speaker