<<< Prime Minister the Rt Hon Hubert A Ingraham addressing media representatives on his return from a special meeting, on Monday, January 18 in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic to respond to the destruction in Haiti following a 7.0 earthquake. Also shown is National Security Minister the Hon Tommy Turnquest.
Nassau, Bahamas – CARICOM (Caribbean Community) has not yet agreed to the size of its contribution to the Haiti emergency relief and reconstruction initiative, however it remains under consideration Prime Minister the Rt Hon Hubert A Ingraham revealed on Monday, January 18 following his return from an emergency meeting in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
“The size and form of CARICOM assistance is likely to be informed by the results of the Strategic Plan for the reconstruction of Haiti,” the Prime Minister said at a press conference at Odyssey Airport.
He noted that the Royal Bahamas Defence Force has two platoons (30 persons each) and a Bahamas Class vessel on standby for deployment to Haiti if and when conditions warrant and or require.
The objective of the meeting was to begin to build a consensus for an “appropriate” international response to the destruction of “catastrophic” proportions of Haiti following a 7.0 earthquake that hit the country, Tuesday, January 12.
“The meeting applauded the initial international response to what has been the greatest crisis in Haiti’s 200 year history and one of the world’s most grave natural disasters in recent decades,” said Prime Minister Ingraham.
In attendance at the meeting was Haiti’s President René Préval; the Prime Ministers of Jamaica, Barbados, Dominica and Trinidad and Tobago and the Vice Premier of Spain.
Also in attendance were representatives of the government of the United States of America (USA), Canada, Mexico, Brazil and Chile as well as representatives of the United Nations, World Bank, Organization of American States (OAS), International Development Bank (IDB), International Red Cross and the European Union.
Accompanying Prime Minister Ingraham was National Security Minister the Hon Tommy Turnquest; Director of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Captain Stephen Russell and Senior Policy Adviser in the Office of the Prime Minister, Teresa Butler.
The Prime Minister disclosed that the meeting focused on the development of a Strategic Plan for the reconstruction of Haiti extending beyond the immediate needs for water, food, housing, medicine, medical care and clothing.
He outlined the contributions of countries to emergency and reconstruction. They include the World Bank ($100 million for infrastructural reconstruction); USA ($100 million and a number of additional assistance presently underway); EU Commission and member states (306 Euros equivalent to some $440 million); Brazil ($50 million); OAS ($10 million) and Mexico ($8 million). Canada is also contributing tens of millions to various initiatives and projects.
He said there was discussion of proposal to convert some $470 million of IDB loans to Haiti into grants. Further consideration is to be given to some $340 million in approved projects through the IDB into emergency projects funding, he said.
Prime Minister Ingraham noted that the meeting agreed to establish a Coordinating Committee mandated to develop a strategic plan for the reconstruction of Haiti. The Committee would comprise representatives from the following countries: Haiti, Dominican Republic, CARICOM, UN, OAS, Rio Group, USA, Canada, Brazil, IDB, Canada and the USA.
The Prime Minister said CARICOM proposed to appoint former Jamaican Prime Minister, P. J. Patterson as its representative on the Committee.
A Donor’s Meeting at Ministerial level is scheduled to take place on January 25 in Montreal Canada. This will be followed by a conference in the Dominican Republic in April when the draft Strategic Plan for the reconstruction of Haiti will be agreed.
A final consultation on implementation will take place at the previously scheduled EU-LAC meeting in Madrid in May, the Prime Minister said.