Haiti deposits Accession Instrument
Set to become CARICOM's 15th member
Stabroek News
July 3, 2002

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Haiti's Foreign Minister, Phillipe J. Antonio, yesterday deposited his country's Instrument of Accession to the Caribbean Community with the Georgetown-based CARICOM Secretariat.

The deposit completed the required legal process for Haiti to become the 15th member of the Caribbean Community. It would also be the second non-English speaking member after Suriname.

The deposit of the instrument paves the way for the CARICOM Heads to pronounce on Haiti's application, based on the provisions of the founding Treaty of Chaguaramas. They will do so during their summit, which starts today, having assessed that all the conditions are right for accepting Haiti as a member, and whether it has satisfied the conditions set out in the treaty. The treaty sets out what the community is, what it stands for, what it requires and what it hopes to deliver.

In brief remarks after handing the over the instrument, Antonio, speaking through an interpreter, thanked the community for its support, not only for preparing it for membership, but for paving Haiti's way back into the international community.

Haiti's instrument of accession: Haiti's Foreign Minister Phillipe J. Antonio (left) handing over Haiti's Instrument

of Accession to CARICOM to Secretary-General

of the body, Edwin Carrington yesterday at the CARICOM Secretariat.

Antonio, here for the summit meeting, said that because of CARICOM's support, "Haiti knows too that it is not alone" as it tries to resolve its present political crisis.

Earlier, CARICOM Secretary-General, Edwin Carrington, recalled that Haiti had applied for membership of the community in July 1997. In 1999, during the summit in Trinidad and Tobago chaired by then Prime Minister, Basdeo Panday, it agreed with the community on the terms and conditions of its entry. To help Haiti accede to membership of the community, CARICOM set up a technical office there in 2001.

As part of its continuing concern with helping Haiti to return to normality, Carrington said, the community was currently engaged with the Organisation of American States (OAS) to resolve the present political crisis in the country and to forge an accord which the governing and major opposition parties are expected to sign next week.

He said that CARICOM "is also actively advocating that the international community responds to Haiti's needs and release much needed resources to assist that country's social and economic development." The United States has blocked aid flows to Haiti.

Carrington observed that CARICOM would be insisting on good governance and observance of the rule of law as set out in its Charter of Civil Society. Good governance and observance of the rule of law is, according to the charter, the basis for sustainable development.

Speaking in French Creole and English, St Lucia's Foreign Minister, Julian Hunte, said that CARICOM would provide Haiti with a greater sense of belonging. He expressed the hope that the political parties would sign the accord during the visit of the CARICOM team to Haiti from July 8 to 9. Hunte, the present chairman of the community's Council for Foreign and Community Affairs, has been its ministerial point man in brokering an accord among the parties. He expressed the hope that good sense would prevail so that the pressure could be eased from the backs of the Haiti's eight million people.

Hunte said that yesterday's ceremony would generate a greater sense of confidence for the community to continue to assist Haiti so that it could take its place not only in CARICOM but in the Free Trade Area of the Americas and the post-Cotonou arrangements with the European Union, as well as the other initiatives that require stability if it were to participate meaningfully.

Among those witnessing yesterday's ceremony were CARICOM's Deputy Secretary-General, Dr Carla Barnett; Assistant Secretary-General, Colin Grandison and Foreign Service Officer, Charmaine Atkinson-Jordan. Grandison has a long association with the region's effort in Haiti. He spent eight years there with the OAS and the United Nations as those organisations sought to return Haiti to democracy after its first democratically-elected president was ousted by the military. Atkinson-Jordan accompanied Hunte on his many trips to Haiti.