Jamaica says EPG visit to Haiti could have been more successful

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BRUSSELS, CMC – The three-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Eminent Persons Group (EPG) on Haiti that traveled to the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) country last week failed in their bid to advance the efforts of the regional integration movement to find a solution to the political and socio-economic situation there.

Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness, attending the two-day summit of the European Union and the Community of Latin American and the Caribbean States (CELAC), said, “We regret that the lack of outcome at this last meeting was the case.”

The group, headed by former St. Lucia prime minister Dr. Kenny Anthony and his two former prime ministerial colleagues, Bruce Golding of Jamaica and Perry Christie of the Bahamas, had traveled to Port au Prince to continue meeting with government and other Haitian stakeholders.

The meetings in Haiti were a follow-up to the three-day Haiti consultation held in Jamaica last month to build consensus and allow inclusive participation in a neutral environment.

The EPG has been tasked, along with a small team comprising the technical expertise in mediation, security, and political research supported by the CARICOM Secretariat, to facilitate consultations with Haitian stakeholders.

The EPG will initiate and oversee the CARICOM’s provision of Good Offices support in designated priority areas, including security, governance, the electoral process, and long-term development planning and advocacy. They will also liaise with key international partners and agencies.

But Holness said, “These talks, while not conclusive, allowed for the relevant parties to discuss openly matters of interim governance and transition.

“We regret that the lack of outcome at this last meeting was the case. But we understand that progress in these matters is not linear, and therefore we remain hopeful,” Holness said as he addressed the EU-ECLAC summit.

Last October, Haitian Prime Minister Dr. Ariel Henry, who is attending the summit here, called for international assistance with the deployment of a specialized force to help the Haiti national police confront gangs, which had seized control of the country’s key seaport and fuel terminal.

Since then, United Nations Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has called on the international community to provide support for the specialized unit and has promised to “continue to push for a robust international security force, authorized by the Security ‎Council, to be able to help to help the Haitian National Police to defeat and dismantle the gangs.”

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