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Haitian Government Denying Entry to Caribbean Community Observers

Politics

Maxime

Foreign Affairs Minister Bocchit Edmond and President Jovenel Moïse have been denying a delegation established by the Caribbean Community, Caricom, since the summer entrance into Haiti according to Caricom officials.

The delegation consisting of Caricom chairman and St Lucia Prime Minister Allen Chastanet, Jamaica's Prime Minister Andrew Holness, and The Bahamas Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis had been mandated by regional leaders at their summit in St Lucia in July this year to undertake the visit. The three-man prime ministerial team had the mission "to inform the community of the situation in that country."

But since, the Haitian foreign minister has been trying to dissuade them. Falsely he has said that the Organization of American States (OAS) had already sent a team to Haiti and, since Caricom countries are members of the OAS, Caricom had no need to send a team of its own.

"Of course, the truth is that no authorised OAS team has been sent to Haiti since 2015," said Sir Ronald Sanders, Antigua and Barbuda's ambassador to the OAS. "The team to which Foreign Minister Edmond referred was a self-appointed visit by the US Ambassador to the OAS Carlos Trujillo, as the outgoing chairman of the OAS Permanent Council."

Sir Ronald said that the American diplomat announced to a working group at the OAS, on a subject that had nothing to do with Haiti, that he was accepting an invitation from Edmond to visit Haiti.

"To date, no official invitation has ever been seen by the Permanent Council of the OAS and that council – the only body with the power to do so – has never authorised Ambassador Trujillo's visit." said Sir Ronald.

But Sir Ronald said that in any event, Caricom leaders were insistent that a visit should be made and the Caricom secretary general was instructed to write to President Moïse indicating their wish to send a prime ministerial team to explore steps that could be taken, including mediation, to help resolve the political impasse and the civil disturbances.

"To date, Moïse has not responded, even though Haiti is a member state of Caricom with binding obligations to the organisation," Sir Ronald said, noting that Chastanet has since said that Caricom is deeply concerned over the protracted political crisis in Haiti and is awaiting the country's imprimatur for a good offices prime ministerial delegation to visit.

"To be clear, Caricom countries, acting as a group, adhere to a strict policy of non-interference and non-intervention in the internal affairs of states, as set out in the Charters of the United Nations and the OAS. Therefore, Caricom heads were careful to seek the agreement of President Moïse to accept a visit by three of his colleagues."

"Their objective was to serve the best interests of Haiti, including by engaging members of the Senate, political parties, non-governmental organisations, and the private sector. In the absence of any response by President Moise to their request to visit Haiti, Caricom heads clearly must assume that they would be unwelcome. This has implications for Haiti's membership of the community, and, in time, that should be a matter for review by Caricom governments."

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