CARIB | Jun 11, 2023

Jamaica supports inclusive and open dialogue in finding solutions to crisis in Haiti – PM Holness

Candice Stewart

Candice Stewart / Our Today

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Prime Minister Andrew Holness, today (June 11) said that Jamaica supports inclusive dialogue towards finding solutions for the ongoing political and humanitarian crisis in Haiti.

Holness was speaking at the Haiti Stakeholders Meeting held at the offices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade in Kingston.

“The serious and deteriorating political security and humanitarian challenges facing Haiti are well known. 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,” he said.

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.

Andrew Holness, prime minister of Jamaica

“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,’ the Prime Minister added.

He was referring to sessions from the CARICOM special mission to Haiti on February 27 and noted that the discussions scheduled to take place in Jamaica between June 11 and 13 have come as a direct result of that first initiative.

“You spoke and we listened, conscious that every state of engagement must facilitate Haitian perspectives and support Haitian-led solutions,” said the prime minister.

Prime Minister Holness then mentioned that coming out of the mission in February, CARICOM established the Eminent Persons Group (EPG), headed by three former leaders of Caribbean states, to take the process forward in facilitating the movement towards helping Haiti navigate out of the current crisis.

“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 exists,” he said.

Holness shared that the consultations to take place from June 11 to 13 represent the latest in a long tradition of regional solidarity and action in support of Haiti as an integral member of the Caribbean community.

National flag of the Republic of Haiti.

“We recognise the importance of making every effort to find solutions. We’re convinced that with the right spirit and opportunities to facilitate inclusive participation in a neutral environment, there can be movement in building on the ground work already laid to advance consensus,” he noted, adding that the contributions are also in support of a larger framework of complimentary processes taking place at the national level in Haiti.

Holness said that, “Jamaica, together with the region, sincerely commits to the drive for satisfactory and sustainable solutions for the Haitian people,” and “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 good will. You can be assured of Jamaica’s continued support as we work in different ways towards restoring peace and prosperity to the world’s first free Black republic [in] restoring the stability and well being that Haiti and her people so well deserve,”

Gangs in Haiti have continued to grow in strength since the 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise. Residents have been caught in the middle, as large portions of the capital and other areas have become lawless. Deadly gang turf battles have left hundreds dead and thousands displaced.

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