The following link to the statement was provided by Tee White with the objective of keeping the BU family informed about matters arising from the ongoing Jamaica meeting- Blogmaster
Port-au-Prince on June 6, 2023
Meeting in Jamaica from June 11-13, 2023 of the Caribbean Community/CARICOM on #Haiti: the urgency of a great decolonized Caribbean vision.
Mr. Philip Brave DAVIS
Chairman CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government
Mr. Chairman of the Conference,
We acknowledge receipt of your correspondence and thank you for inviting us to participate in this summit on the Haitian crisis scheduled for June 11-13. We congratulate CARICOM as a community of which Haiti is a member, for having expressed the will to make its contribution in the search for a solution to the serious multidimensional crisis cynically maintained that threatens to collapse or plunge our country into absolute chaos.
Allow us to formulate, under the circumstances, some general observations and certain reservations concerning in particular the minimum conditions to be met to ensure the success of such an initiative, reservations stemming from the observation of a certain inadequacy between the objective and how to proceed. Indeed, this meeting on Haiti in Jamaica raises a number of relevant considerations and reservations.
Let us underline them one by one:
1- THE ADMISSION OF HAITI AS A MEMBER STATE OF CARICOM
CARICOM was created on July 4, 1973 by the Treaty of Chaguaramas and Haiti joined the Caribbean organization as a provisional member on July 4, 1998 and became a full member in 2002, 29 years after its creation. The Treaty attached to the annex creating the common market was ratified by the Haitian Parliament on May 13, 2002.
2- RELATIONS OBSERVED BETWEEN CARICOM AND HAITI SINCE ITS ADMISSION AS A MEMBER STATE
a- In 2004, CARICOM refused to recognize the interim government of Prime Minister Gérard Latortue for lack of legitimacy and unconstitutionality, so Haiti’s participation in the Caribbean Community was suspended and its reinstatement took place two years later, following the election of René Préval and the installation of his recognized constitutional government. This readmission was made official in July 2006 during the 28th Conference of CARICOM Heads of Government held in Saint Kitts and Nevis.
b – After its refusal to recognize, in 2004, the government of Latortue for lack of constitutionality, 19 years later, in 2023, CARICOM, against all odds, agreed to recognize the unconstitutional and illegitimate government of Ariel Henry and collaborates closely with this so-called Prime Minister placed by a simple tweet from the Core Group, a syndicate of indecent diplomats, violators of international law and declared saboteurs of Haiti.
Moreover, this is a corrupt government, insensitive to the problems of the population in general and of the pupils, students, teachers in particular; the latter have been on strike for almost two months to demand decent teaching and learning conditions. In fact, their demands are being ignored by the government, in particularly by the de facto Minister of Education, Nesmy Manigat, citing a lack of resources. However, information gathered from reliable sources indicates that this government colludes with and finances the gangs. These same gangs kill, kidnap, assassinate parents, students, students and other members of the population on a daily basis with total impunity.
It should also be noted that Title 17 of the Civil Society Charter on Good Governance adopted in 1997 by CARICOM, stipulates in Article 1: “States shall adopt and implement appropriate measures to ensure good, fair, open and accountable governance. Could the current government, recognized as generally corrupt, be part of such a dynamic? How to explain that it is recognized by CARICOM and benefits from such collaboration?
3- RELATIONS BETWEEN CARICOM AND HAITI SINCE ITS PLACEMENT UNDER TRUSTEESHIP IN 2004 BY THE UNITED NATIONS SECURITY COUNCIL, I.E. FOR 19 YEARS:
a- The Caribbean Court of Justice and the unconstitutionality of the UN missions in Haiti.
It should be noted that it is in reference to Resolution 1542 that the UN Security Council decided to establish foreign troops in Haiti, grouped in a mission called the United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH). However, as far as the provisions of the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties (Art.14) are concerned, the presence of MINUSTAH was from the very first moment illegal; struck on the one hand by the defect of non-consent of the Haitian legislature (Art.98-3 and 276 Const), and on the other hand, by the non-qualification of one of the signatory parties (Art.139) What was the position of the Caribbean Court of Justice on the unconstitutionality of UN missions in a CARICOM member state, Haiti?
On the other hand, did the Court consider it appropriate to deal with the case of the cholera crime that caused more than thirty thousand deaths and eight hundred thousand infected persons within a member state of the Caribbean Community?
b-Reaction of the CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government to the degrading treatment reserved for Haiti by US Heads of State.
In January 2018, a US Head of State described a CARICOM member state, Haiti, as a “shithole “. What was the attitude of a CARICOM decision-making body, such as the Conference of Heads of Government, to such an affront?
In September 2021, migrants from Haiti, hence from a CARICOM member state, were repelled and savagely whipped in Rio Grande by US border guards on horseback. Had this provoked any reaction from CARICOM? Was there an official note denouncing this degrading treatment and defending Haiti’s honor?c-Involvement of a CARICOM member state in the administration of UN occupation troops.
On July 15, 2015, a citizen of a CARICOM member-state, Trinidad and Tobago, former Director of CARICOM and Caribbean Affairs in 2005, agreed to assume a high-level position in the leadership of occupation troops, as Special Representative of the UN Secretary General in Haiti. Is it too much to imagine that she will one day write her memoirs in all sincerity and conscience as a daughter of the Caribbean? She who had to declare at the 8068th Session of the UN Security Council held on October 12, 2017, “When MINUSTAH was established, Haiti was experiencing profound instability, endemic political violence and a climate of lawlessness and impunity. Today, armed gangs are no longer holding the population hostage, thanks to a 14,000-strong national police force and all branches of power are in place, with the executive and legislative branches back in place.”
Less than ten years later, in 2023, how do you see the security landscape in Haiti? Where did this strong police go? Is it not necessary to organize a special evaluation session within CARICOM regarding the lack of results in terms of stabilization of the repeated UN military missions and therefore their uselessness in this Caribbean country?
4- THE ARCHIVE OF THE HAITIAN CRISIS: CARICOM INTERVENTIONS IN THE FIRST HALF OF 2023
From February 15 to 17, 2023, the 44th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) was held in Nassau, Bahamas.
This Conference was marked by the presence of the Prime Minister of Canada, Justin Trudeau, as special guest and that of Ariel Henry, the much maligned de facto Prime Minister imposed on the Haitian people by the Core Group.
Earlier, it was announced in an official communiqué dated February 11, 2023 that “This meeting will provide an opportunity for leaders to explore ways that would allow the region to continue to assist the Haitian people politically, security and humanitarian… As an unwavering partner, Canada stepped in in response to this flagrant situation. This included providing assistance to the Haitian National Police and deploying a long-range patrol aircraft to disrupt gang activity.” At the conclusion of this 44th Regular Meeting of CARICOM Heads of Government,it was decided to send a delegation to Haiti on mission.
On February 27, 2023, that delegation met in the Haitian capital under the leadership of Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness. It was composed of representatives of the Bahamas, Trinidad and Tobago, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica, the Jamaican Ambassador and members of the secretariat of the Caribbean organization.This special CARICOM mission aimed to assess the situation in Haiti and, in that regard, held preliminary meetings with a number of actors considered important. Once again, discussions focused on the means that would enable the Caribbean region to continue to assist the Haitian people “at the political, security and humanitarian levels.”
1) Four months after these various meetings and exploratory missions already preceded by several others, what has been concretely achieved in the direction of a solution to the terrible crisis rocking our country?
2) What means have already been explored, as promised by CARICOM and Canada, that would make it possible to really help the Haitian people “at the political, security, humanitarian and other levels?”. Canada, a member of the CORE GROUP, which actively contributes to the destabilization of Haiti but has nevertheless declared itself an “unwavering partner” of Haiti, claims to have intervened in response to this blatant situation and, in particular, “provided assistance to the Haitian National Police and deployed a long-range patrol aircraft to disrupt gang activity.”
What was the result of the deployment of this patrol plane with respect to the criminal activity of the gangs? Has Canada thus made it possible to curb the action of the gangs or has it rather taken the opportunity to play theater while members of the population continue to be massively victimized on a daily basis? With this theater, did it contribute to reassure the gangs or really to fight them?
Based on this state of affairs, do the Haitian people have the right to expect anything positive or different from this summit announced in Jamaica? Will it not be one more summit to add to the innumerable summits already organized only to throw dust in the eyes of the people or to pretend to help solve the crisis that submerges them?
5- CARICOM MEETING FROM JUNE 11 TO 13 ON HAITI: WHAT AGENDA?
Is the agenda of this summit going in the direction of supporting Haitian-led solutions ? A few days before this meeting, this discussion agenda is not yet finalized or made public. What can we expect ?
In our opinion, if you want to show respect for the Haitian people in general and for the actors involved in particular; if you want to organize a serious summit on the current Haitian crisis and make a definitive contribution to a Haitian solution to the Haitian crisis, you must review your strategy, review the usual ineffective and useless methodology used in previous summits.
We continue to hope that CARICOM will not become an accomplice of the former colonial, slave-owning and racist powers now imperialist powers that cynically maintain the current crisis, oppress the Haitian people and above all that CARICOM will not be their sounding board. Otherwise, any inter-Caribbean summit on Haiti runs the risk of turning into a kind of a “sounding board” for the Haitian people. We hope, in fact, that the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) will organize a summit that will be an opportunity to raise the real problems that are perpetuating this crisis and to find together the appropriate solutions expected with the effective participation of Haitian actors. We propose, in this regard, that the following points be included in the agenda of the summit:
1) Haiti: Recovery of national sovereignty to put an end to the interference of imperialist powers;
2) Need to put an end to the indecent international support, particularly the US, Canada and France, to the criminal PHTK government of Ariel Henry and the establishment of a credible transitional government;
3) Urgency of CARICOM solidarity support to Haiti for the effective implementation of Resolution 2653 (2022) adopted by the Security Council on October 21, 2022;
4) Establishment of an Independent Commission of Inquiry to evaluate these eighteen years of UN support to update its responsibilities and its direct link to the causes that have led to the current chaotic situation;
5) Support of the Caribbean Court of Justice to obtain compensation and reparations for Haiti and in particular for the families of the thirty thousand dead and eight hundred thousand (800,000.00) infected with cholera brought by MINUSTAH soldiers;
6) Declaration of position of CARICOM for a concrete support to Haiti with a view to international military non-intervention;
7) In the prospect of credible elections, CARICOM could make some recommendations for the suspension by the United States of the supply of arms and ammunition used by gangs in parallel with the rapid recovery of weapons already brought in;
8) Warning against the ten-year development plan for Haiti decided by the U.S. State Department;
9) Solidarity with Haiti for the recovery of the Haitian island of La Navase and the claim for compensation;
10) Need for strong CARICOM support for restitution and reparations for the grievances and grave injustices suffered by Haiti throughout history, including the historical debt of slavery, the theft of its resources, the scandalous ransom of independence, the seizure of its gold reserves by the United States of America;
11) Commitment of CARICOM to the process of total decolonization of the Caribbean space;
12) Voting on a CARICOM resolution requesting the granting of another decade of African descent 2024-2033 on behalf of Haiti. It should be noted that Haiti, the first to break the chains of slavery and therefore considered by the poet Victor Hugo and many others as a light , was relegated to the back row in the framework of the celebration of this International Decade for People of African Descent when the UN should have given it a place of honor.
Mr. President of the Conference of Heads of Government, Mr. President of the Conference of Heads of Government,
Any summit on the Haitian crisis that does not take into account these major concerns of the Haitian people will pass by. Therefore, if CARICOM, as a Caribbean community of sister countries, really wants to make a contribution to the resolution of this multidimensional and complex crisis, it would be necessary to build, in collaboration with the Haitian actors, the agenda for discussion. It is an agenda that integrates the fundamental concerns of the Haitian people.
It is also important to encourage all Haitian stakeholders to agree in advance on the format of the meeting, to establish with them the list of possible international actors to be invited and to postpone for at least two weeks this summit scheduled for June 11 to June 13 in order to ensure its success.
Doomed to support each other in the struggle for a united and fully decolonized Caribbean, we ask you to receive, Mr. President of the Conference, our Caribbean and fraternal greetings.
Camille CHALMERS, Professor at the State University of Haiti (UEH), Executive Secretary of the Advocacy Platform for Alternative Development (PAPDA) and member of the Executive Board of the RASIN Kan pèp Party.
Josué MÉRILIEN, Trade Unionist, General Coordinator of the National Union of Normaliens/Normaliennes of Haiti (UNNOH) and member of the Executive Board of Konbit of Trade Union, Political and Popular Organizations (KONBIT).