Wednesday, August 31, 2022
NASSAU: Bahamas Prime Minister Philip Davis says a solution to the political and economic crisis in Haiti must be a “Haitian solution” even as he welcomed a role for Nassau in dealing with the myriad of problems confronting the French-speaking CARICOM country.
“There was a meeting held on Saturday past in Trinidad. I was unable to attend because of the other pressing matters we are dealing with here and the deputy has attended in my stead.
“I have been briefed and the next step is for me to determine when I will host my fellow leaders here in The Bahamas along with the Haitian prime minister to find the pathway to peace and prosperity,” Davis told reporters, adding that “the solution has to be a Haitian solution”.
St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Dr. Ralph Gonsalves told the Caribbean Media Corporation that the meeting in Port of Spain had provided the opportunity for regional leaders who were attending the ongoing second regional Agri-Investment and Forum Expo 11, to discuss and update the Haitian Prime Minister Dr. Ariel Henry on the decisions taken during the CARICOM summit in Suriname last month.
Gonsalves said that while a decision has been taken for a CARICOM-led technical mission to visit Port au Prince for talks with all the stakeholders there, no date as yet been finalized even as Henry has reiterated that he “wants CARICOM to be very much involved”.
Gonsalves said plans are also being formulated for a meeting to be held in The Bahamas that would follow the technical mission’s visit.
The meeting in Nassau is expected to be attended by the stakeholders from Haiti, the African Union, Francophone countries, as well as the Community for Latin American and Caribbean States and the Organization of American States, among others, Gonsalves added.
Davis told reporters that the ongoing situation in Haiti “is a concern and you have seen the desperation of Haitian people in an attempt to escape the challenges that they are experiencing in Haiti.
“And we have to be concerned just for humanity. From a humanitarian point of view, you have to be concerned of the plight of our fellow human beings in Haiti and for The Bahamas.
“It is a security issue as well because when they are coming to The Bahamas we have to look after them. We don’t know all of the issues that surround those persons who come and it is concerning and we all ought to be concerned about it.”
Last month, Davis said despite the world suggesting that The Bahamas “should absorb all of those who leave Haiti”, the government will not open the country’s borders to irregular migration.
Labour and Immigration Minister Keith Bell said he expects the number of migrants seeking refuge in the country to increase before the end of the year.
“This goes in waves. Every four or five years you have a significant increase in the number of irregular migrants and as you all would appreciate, what is going on in the south of the countries in the Caribbean, particularly in Haiti where there is political unrest and economic instability.
“Certainly Cuba has been impacted by the Ukrainian war, in terms of them being able to access goods and so, therefore, we have seen a significant increase in irregular migrants from Cuba and from Haiti,” Bell said, adding that law enforcement agencies and the United States Coast Guard are sufficiently dealing with the recent irregular migrant incidents.
“The good thing is our law enforcement agencies along with our US Coast Guard, they’re doing a marvelous job in terms of intercepting them and ensuring that we detain them and, of course, then we repatriate them as quickly as we can,” Bell said.
The United Nations has said that between 8th and 17th of July, over 471 people were killed, injured or unaccounted for in Haiti. It said serious incidents of sexual violence against women and girls, as well as the gang recruitment of boys have also been reported.
Around 3,000 people have fled their homes, including hundreds of unaccompanied children, while at least 140 houses have been destroyed or burnt down. (CMC)
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Wednesday, August 31, 2022