Caricom row over Aristide
published: Thursday | March 18, 2004
BARBADOS FOREIGN Minister Billie Miller poured more fuel into the deepening diplomatic row over Jamaica’s decision to host former Haitian president Jean-Bertrand Aristide, when she claimed yesterday that Barbados was left out of the loop of that decision.
The Barbadian minister, in an address to the House of Assembly in Barbados, declared that the oversight would “clearly have implications” as she was not aware that Mr. Aristide was coming to Jamaica until “after the fact.”
But Government sources here pointed out that Patterson’s March 11 statement announcing the visit had not claimed prior consultation but said Jamaica’s decision had been communicated to Caricom colleagues.
Notwithstanding, indications are that Jamaica is taking Miller’s comments very seriously, and is anxious to smooth ruffled feathers, in an attempt to maintain a unified Caricom voice on Haiti.
Word out of the Foreign Affairs Ministry last night was that Minister K.D. Knight was in discussion with Ms. Miller on the issue.
Yesterday senior diplomats worked late into the night attempting to craft a statement in response to the Barbadian minister’s comments.
In a voice clip carried on the radio programme ‘Nationwide’, the Barbadian minister is quoted as saying that Mr. Aristide’s move from the Central African Republic back to this region was not the subject of a Caricom initiative.
“I as Foreign Minister of Barbados was informed by the Foreign Minister of Jamaica after the fact,” she said.
“This is clearly a matter between the Government of Jamaica and Mr. Aristide but clearly there are implications for us and in no way could I dream of pre-empting what the Heads might conclude when they meet in St. Kitts next week