The Most Honourable Andrew Holness ON, PC, MP
Prime Minister of Jamaica
Meeting of Haitian Stakeholders
Liberty Hall, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade
June 11, 2023
Thank you Madam Chairperson, Senator the Honorable Kemina Johnson Smith Commonwealth case you thought she was Minister of Foreign Affairs for another country, Minister of Foreign Affairs for Jamaica, y friend, The Honorable Philip Davis, Prime Minister of the Common Wealth of The Bahamas and Chair of the CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government, my friend His Excellency Ariel Henry, Prime Minister of The Republic of Haiti Her Excellency, Dr. Carla Barnett, Secretary General of the Caribbean Community.
Ministers of Foreign Affairs of The Bahamas and Haiti
Members of the CARICOM Eminent Group
Mr. Bruce Golding, former Prime Minister of Jamaica, The Right Honourable Perry Christie, former Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, the Honourable Kenny Anthony, former Prime Minister of St. Lucia. Representatives of Partner Countries the United States, Canada, and International Organizations such as the OAS and the UN, Senior Officials of Government and the CARICOM Secretariat, Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, and especially our Haitian brothers and sisters, Members of the Media, Good morning.
It is my pleasure to welcome you on behalf of my government and the people of Jamaica to the city of Kingston for this important meeting of Haitian stakeholders. Geographically only one hundred miles or thereabout separates us at our nearest points so I welcome our Haitian neighbours in a true spirit of brotherhood. Jamaica is proud of our strong historical links and the people-to-people connections between our two nations, which have existed for hundreds of years starting notably with Dutty Boukman and the role he played in the Haitian Revolution.
Prime Minister Henry, let me from the outset convey our heartfelt sympathies to the government and people of the Republic of Haiti on the tragic loss of lives and damage to infrastructure following recent flooding and earthquake, which have further exacerbated the critical humanitarian crisis facing your country and people.
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen, the serious deteriorating political, security and humanitarian challenges facing Haiti are well known, particularly by those in attendance today for whom it is your everyday lived experience. Jamaica therefore supports the process of inclusive and open dialogue and efforts to find solutions to Haiti’s ongoing challenges. It is encouraging to see represented here today, stakeholders from a broad spectrum of Haitian society and I am pleased to note that some of you were part of our earlier engagement in Port-au-Prince. This is a powerful demonstration of your individual and collective will to bring positive change to the difficult situation in your beloved country. The discussions schedule to take place over these three days in fact come as a direct result of our CARICOM Special Mission to Haiti on the 27th of February this year, A mission I was honored to lead.
Jamaica is honored to have been entrusted by CARICOM and you to host these talks at a time when dialogue at the highest possible level is essential, necessary, and critical to achieving consensus. During our sessions in Haiti, there was clear consensus that security was an immediate and critical concern. Some had also expressed that while security is of paramount concern more inclusive and broader dialogue was necessary. It was also made clear on various levels that many Haitian stakeholders would wish to have the opportunity to widen the political consensus towards the holding of national elections under the appropriate conditions. You spoke and we listened. Conscious that every stage of engagement must facilitate Haitian perspectives and support Haitian-led solutions. It was in this context and based on the findings from the Special Mission that CARICOM established the Eminent Persons Group to take the process forward in facilitating the good office’s role to which the region remains committed.
Let me place on record my appreciation to the three former Caribbean Prime Ministers who comprised the Eminent Persons Group, each regionally and internationally respected political leader for their willingness to play this role on behalf of our community. Jamaica offers the EPG its full support confident that their breadth of experience in governance, democracy and mediation will add value to the process of bridging some of the divides that exist. These consultations represent the latest in a long tradition of regional solidarity and action in support of Haiti as an integral member of the CARICOM community. We recognize the importance of making every effort to find solutions. We are convinced that with the right spirit and opportunities to facilitate inclusive participation in a neutral environment, there can be movement in building on the groundwork already laid to advance consensus. These contributions are also in support of a larger framework of complementary processes taking place at the national level in Haiti and among Haiti’s international partners bilaterally and with international partners. Jamaica together with the region commits to the drive for satisfactory and sustainable solutions for the Haitian people.
Excellences, ladies and gentlemen, stakeholders, as we facilitate the space for dialogue and consultation to be held amongst yourselves, we trust that all parties will approach these discussions with mutual respect and in a spirit of openness and goodwill. You can be assured of Jamaica’s continued support as we work in diverse ways towards restoring peace and prosperity to the world’s first free Black Republic restoring the stability and wellbeing that Haiti and her people so well deserve.
I hope you will enjoy your stay in Jamaica, and I extend my best wishes to you for a productive meeting. Thank you.