Haiti move not long in coming
WE REFER to your editorial of June 29 titled CARICOM, Haiti and Rebuilding in which you made reference, inter alia, to the decision of the 13th Meeting of CARICOM’s Council on Trade and Economic Development (COTED) to grant Haiti limited non-reciprocal free trade access to markets of the 14 independent member states of CARICOM. It is heartening to see coverage of community developments by our national and regional media. However, we are sure you agree that coverage is considerably enhanced by information which is accurate. In this vein, we request that you publish this response, the contents of which are easily verifiable. In this regard your editorial falls short in its assertion that “this limited non-reciprocal trade access has been far too long in coming”, and its laying blame in diverse directions for what is described as “the snail’s pace in efforts for meaningful integration of Haiti; that is, long before the unprecedented earthquake disaster of January 12 this year”. The reality is that non-reciprocal free trade access is not a part of the CARICOM trading arrangements – and never was.Only a few weeks The special concession recently granted to Haiti is as a result of the catastrophic destruction that country suffered in the earthquake on January 12 and sought by Haiti only a few weeks ago. In that regard, the concession can in no way be said to be “too long in coming”. Your editorial continues: “While it is now moving to give substance to Haiti’s limited non-reciprocal access to markets in the community, CARICOM should also clearly signal commitment to a sustained high-profile role in lobbying the rich and powerful in honouring the firm pledges made for recovery from the earthquake devastation in ‘building of a new Haiti’ as President René Preval has articulated.” Editor, the commitment to a sustained high-profile role in lobbying to which you refer is evident everywhere. Six days after the devastating earthquake, on January 18, 2010, the Heads of Government of CARICOM appointed former Jamaica Prime Minister, Most Hon. Percival J. Patterson as special representative of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Heads of Government to Haiti.A week later, he represented the community at the Preparatory Ministerial Conference on Haiti in Montreal, Canada, January 25, 2010, and has sustained to date, advocacy for Haiti in international development circles with signal vigour and effect.Thanks This includes representing CARICOM on the Interim Haiti Reconstruction Commission (IHRC) and at the World Summit on the Future of Haiti, held in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic on June 2, 2010. The secretariat thanks you for your coverage of the affairs of your community and reiterates its availability to provide information you may require. Our website www.caricom.org and email addresses [email protected], [email protected] and [email protected] are useful resources. In addition, the ministries of foreign affairs of CARICOM member states are well placed to provide accurate information on community matters.