CASTRIES – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) has agreed to send a prime ministerial delegation to Haiti where opposition forces are seeking to remove President Jovenel Moise from office over allegations of embezzlement.
“We discussed that issue and what we said is that we will have a high level delegation, comprising prime ministers who will go to Haiti on a fact finding mission,” Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).
Browne said that the regional leaders who are meeting here for their annual summit had expressed concern at the developments unfolding in the French-speaking CARICOM country.
“We are concerned about the escalation of violence in Haiti and CARICOM will be going there to find out what the situation is on the ground and at the same time to come up with recommendations to resolve the issues amicably,” he said.
Browne said that it is likely that the mission would include the St Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, the CARICOM chairman, as well as the prime ministers of Jamaica and the Bahamas.
“Those are the three that would have volunteered so far,” adding that the date would most likely be set “mutually between the government of Haiti and the CARICOM team”.
Moise, who attended the ceremonial opening the 40th CARICOM summit here on Wednesday night, has already returned to his homeland. He is reported to have held talks with United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, who addressed the regional leaders.
The opposition parties in Haiti have accused Moise of embezzlement, but the head of state has defended himself against the report of the Superior Court of Accounts and Administrative Litigation (CSA/CA) into programmes and projects funded by the PetroCaribe, an oil alliance of many Caribbean states with Venezuela to purchase oil on conditions of preferential payment.
The report hat found that significant shortcomings have been associated with the planning and implementation of development programmes and projects funded by the PetroCaribe Fund.
Last month, the state announced it had filed a complaint with the Public Prosecutor’s Office of Port-au-Prince against those persons implicated in the PetroCaribe scandal.
The CSC/CA audit found that significant shortcomings have been associated with the planning and implementation of development programmes and projects funded by the PetroCaribe Fund during the administration of former president Michel Martelly.
The Court made it clear that, overall, relevant documents were missing in most of the projects and contracts reviewed and as a result it was impossible to conduct a comprehensive audit of several projects.
For example, the 610 page report found that in 2014, for the same project to rehabilitate the Borgne – Petit Bourg de Borgne road section, the State signed two identical contracts worth more than 39 million Gourdes (One Gourde=US$0.01 cents) with two separate companies.
Moise, before he came to power in 2017, headed a company which received more than 33 million Gourdes to do the road work, though the company in principle did nothing but grow bananas.
“In the first place, no resolution was signed with PetroCaribe in my administration: the last resolution with PetroCaribe was in 2016 and I came to power in 2017. In my administration there was no resolution,” Moise said in a recent interview.
The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) in the United States, as well as Congress woman Maxine Waters, US actor Danny Glover and 104 Congressmen and women sent separate letters to CARICOM on the unfolding situation in Haiti. (CMC)