KINGSTON, Jamaica (Reuters) – Deposed Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide appears ready to go into exile in South Africa and will leave the Caribbean just as soon as it is decided who will pay his air fare, a Jamaican official said Tuesday.
South Africa and Jamaica are at loggerheads over who should foot the travel bill for Aristide, his family and his
bodyguards, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
Aristide has been staying in Jamaica since March 15 and South Africa agreed to grant him temporary exile earlier this
“Talks between both governments are continuing and other things are being sorted out, including where the Aristides will
live, which school the children will attend and how many bodyguards should accompany him,” the source said.
Aristide left Haiti during an armed revolt Feb. 29 and was flown to the Central African Republic on a flight arranged
by the United States. He traveled to Jamaica on a privately arranged jet for a visit Jamaica’s prime minister said would
last up to 10 weeks, a period that ended on Monday.
The government official said Jamaica asked South Africa to bear the cost of Aristide’s travel, since Jamaica had already
spent huge sums accommodating him at a government guest house near Kingston.
“There is huge cost involved in his travel to South Africa,” the source said. “It would be easier to charter an
aircraft and fly directly to South Africa, stopping maybe once to refuel. But it would be less costly if Aristide, his family
and bodyguards were to fly to London by commercial aircraft and then connect to South Africa.”