Speech by the Prime Minister

High-Level CARICOM Meeting on Haiti

High-Level CARICOM Meeting on Haiti



The Most Honourable Andrew Holness ON, PC, MP

Prime Minister of Jamaica


High-Level CARICOM Meeting on Haiti


March 11, 2024


Mr Chairman


Heads of Government

Secretary Blinken

Ministers of Foreign Affairs

Specially invited guests


Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to Jamaica and to this special meeting which our country is honoured to host. I want to thank you for your patience. And I would also like to thank the press for their patience, as we all see this meeting is a work in progress and I am happy to say that we are making progress.

Despite sustained efforts and attempts made over time by Haitians, by members of CARICOM and by the international community to find a solution to the political security and humanitarian crisis, the situation in Haiti continues to worsen on the ground, especially for the last few weeks.

Without recounting the disruptions and violence being experienced by ordinary Haitians through attacks on institutions and infrastructure, it is clear that Haiti is now at a tipping point. CARICOM and our regional partners are deeply concerned as are our international partners here present and beyond.

CARICOM heads have been intensively engaged in discussion and outreach which deepened over the past week and indeed today. Strong and decisive owned by the people of Haiti must be taken to stem the sea of lawlessness and hopelessness before it is too late. We’re deeply distressed that it is already too late for too many who have lost far too much at the hands of criminal gangs. The fear of the situation in Haiti worsening to become a civil war is now real one. We are all agreed that this cannot be allowed to happen, not in our hemisphere with our long-standing democratic tradition and reputation as a zone of peace.

Over many decades, international assistance has been given to Haiti towards the development of a foundation for free and fair elections, reliable and capable national institutions and sustained socio-economic development. Many of our partners sitting at this table have been a part of these efforts. Haiti needs new cohesive domestic resolve and the requisite support from its partners. The people of Haiti deserve the opportunity to experience another way of being, to determine their destiny, to secure their rights, and to be free from oppressive forces within and without. This will therefore require a long-term reconstruction and support plan from the region and the international partners.

The Haitian National Police are currently under-resourced and outmanned. The UN Security Council approved multinational security support mission to Haiti, therefore, is a critical and a necessary first step to restore basic law and order and provide an environment of stability to allow the distribution of assistance and the crafting of medium and long-term solutions. On this, I am certain that we all agree.

We can also agree that Haitian voices must be central to any deliberation towards a resolution of the situation. The Haitian people must feel and know that they are a vital part of the process having ownership in its planning and implementation. However, we who have agreed to facilitate consensus will do an injustice to the people of Haiti if we ourselves are unable to move forward with urgency and resolve. We look forward to the harvesting of the results of the discussions that we have been engaging today.

This special meeting must lead us closer to action as each passing day the situation becomes more dire for the majority of the people of Haiti and indeed the region. We must resolve to end this state of play by our actions provide hope for Haitians that this time there will be a positive outcome and things will indeed get better. Disjointed efforts will be no match for those who would seek to sow discord and prevent a just and secure future for Haiti.

I am pleased, therefore, that we have convened at such short notice this meeting with great determination that this time we will do for Haiti what needs to be done. Jamaica remains firmly committed to the Haitian cause as demonstrated through the conduct of our regional responsibilities within the MSS (Multinational Security Support) Mission our level of engagement in CARICOM and at the United Nations.

I commend the Chair of Conference, President Ali, for determining that this meeting should take place. I commend my colleague heads, those countries present and indeed all countries and agencies which have committed or indicated support for the mission. It is my hope that at the end of this meeting, we will have developed a clear and defined pathway forward and would have infused our planning for deployment of the agreed multinational security support mission with the urgency and the vision it requires. The people of Haiti need and deserve nothing less than their safety, freedom and prosperity that the first free black republic deserves.

I thank you.