August 11, 2004

Nassau, The Bahamas: With five days remaining for Caribbean Community  leaders to finalize their position on the recognition of Haiti’s interim administration, Bahamian ambassador to Haiti Eugene Newry is urging the regional grouping to resume relations with the troubled nation.

“I can’t understand why anybody would have difficulty understanding that Haiti is a member of Caricom and therefore you have to deal with your member some how or the other,” Newry said.

A meeting of the Caricom bureau in Grenada last month agreed to take a decision on the matter by 16 August following recommendations tabled by Caribbean foreign ministers who conducted a fact-finding mission to Port-au-Prince.

The foreign ministers have reportedly advanced proposals for the regional grouping to fully engage the Gerard Latortue administration.

However, St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr Ralph Gonsalves has publicly rejected recommendations to engage the Haitian authorities, stressing that there was need for “unequivocal evidence” on the ground in Haiti of the country’s return to democracy.

Other Caricom leaders are also said to have reservations on the issue of recognition.

But Ambassador Newry remains adamant that Caricom cannot afford to stay on the sidelines.

“I think the general view now is for Haiti to move forward as a member of Caricom.

“So I think that those nations which were somehow resistant against recognizing the government must see that it is to the region and the organization’s long term benefit to collaborate with this government (Haiti’s interim administration) and to try and come to some kind of Haiti acceptance and good governance,” Newry said.