Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Hubert Ingraham (centre) is in Haiti for the conference celebrating the 50th Anniversary of the Inter-American Development Bank. He is pictured being seen off by Secretary to the Cabinet Anita Bernard and Commissioner of Police Reginald Ferguson.
Nassau, Bahamas — Prime Minister the Rt Hon Hubert Ingraham is in Port-au-Prince, Haiti for a conference marking the 50th Anniversary of the Inter-American Development (IDB).
On Thursday, President of the IDB Luis Alberto Moreno opened the ceremony. The theme of the conference is ‘Focusing on the Economic Transformation and Strengthening of Caribbean Economies in Changing Times’.
Mr Ingraham was to address delegates on Friday concerning the main development challenges for the Caribbean region.
Following the opening ceremony, Mr Ingraham paid a courtesy call on Haiti’s President René Préval at the Royal Palace.
They discussed initiatives of importance to Haiti and The Bahamas.
They agreed that as both countries have similar security needs, because of their proximity to each other, it would be useful for the Maritime Authority in Haiti and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force conduct joint training sessions.
Mr Ingraham said he would look into speeding up the process to increase the number of cultural items from Haiti into The Bahamas.
President Préval informed the Prime Minister that Canada and Spain have lowered their advisory to level three. This means their citizens may visit Haiti. Before when the level was at four, citizens were warned about visiting Haiti.
Mr Ingraham wanted to know what the President was doing to attract manufacturing back into Haiti’s economy.
President Préval explained that Haiti is allowed to export its goods duty-free to the United States. It is also permitted to use any material from any country to produce items like clothing for export to the United States.
He noted as other countries are increasing their minimum wages, this inspires the impoverished Haitians to leave home in search of a better way of life. Unemployment is rampant.
Poor countries have already forgiven Haiti more than $500 million in debt. This mechanism forced multi-lateral agencies like the International Monetary Fund and the IDB to forgive Haiti’s debt at a total of about $1.5 billion, the President said.
Following the courtesy call, the President hosted a reception for delegates attending the conference, and other high-ranking officials at the Palace.