BRIDGETOWN—The Caribbean Community is planning to hold a special meeting to help resolve the current political crisis in Haiti, in cooperation with the Haitian government and opposition parties.

The venue and date for such a meeting, the “Guyana Chronicle” was informed yesterday, will depend largely on the report of a CARICOM fact-finding mission currently in Haiti.

The mission is engaged in consultations with the various political players in that Caribbean state now celebrating its 200th independence anniversary.

Headed by Assistant Secretary General of the Caribbean Community, Ambassador Colin Granderson, the six-member fact-finding team is expected to submit a report on its findings within a week to CARICOM?s current Chairman, Prime Minister P.J.Patterson of Jamaica.

Patterson had informed President Jean Bertrand Aristide of the composition of the mission and its primary objectives on December 30, following intensive discussions with CARICOM Secretary General Edwin Carrington and the Prime Ministers of Trinidad and Tobago (Patrick Manning), St. Lucia (Kenny Anthony) and The Bahamas (Perry Christie).

This latest initiative by CARICOM to bring an end to the long political impasse in Haiti over the conduct of new elections, followed reports of a deteriorating political situation in that poorest of nation in the Caribbean-Latin American region.

There have been escalating political violence and widening tension over the past three weeks resulting in approximately 60 deaths and many more injured victims according to reports from human rights and media personnel out of Port-au-Prince.

Patterson?s letter to Aristide preceded the arrival in the Haitian capital of President Thabo Mbeki of South Africa and Prime Minister Perry Christie of The Bahamas last week to participate in the official launch of the bicentennial independence celebratory activities on January 1-2

Christie?s arrival coincided with that of the six-member CARICOM fact-finding team whose assignment also included representing the Community at the official bicentennial ceremonies.

Before returning to South Africa, President Mbeki met separately with President Aristide and representatives of the political opposition to get their views on the political crisis and offered South Africa?s help in finding a solution to end the ongoing political violence and bring about a restoration of normalcy.

It is likely that any possible mediation effort by South Africa could be linked to new initiatives being considered by CARICOM that would follow the report of the Community?s fact-finding mission now in Haiti.

  Rickey Singh