A top Caribbean Community official called on the group’s member nations to quickly devise a plan to help stabilize Haiti, two days after the impoverished nation rejoined the regional group.
Albert Ramdin, assistant secretary-general of the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States, said Wednesday that cooperation on resources such as police will be critical to ease social problems in Haiti, which has seen an uptick in kidnappings and gang violence in recent weeks.
“We are living in very challenging times for Caribbean economies, but every country could train some police … within their own police forces to strengthen the Haitian national police,” Ramdin said.
Ramdin called on the 15-member community, known as Caricom, to dispatch trade specialists and medical personnel to the French-speaking Caribbean nation, which shares the island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. He also asked newly inaugurated Haitian President Rene Preval to recommend how the Caribbean Community can best help Haiti.
“It now depends on the president to come up with a plan, a short-term social, economic reconstruction plan, so we can concretely indicate how much money will be needed and how much can be pledged,” Ramdin said.
On Monday Preval addressed a summit of Caricom leaders to mark Haiti’s re-entry to the body, which suspended his country’s membership shortly after former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide fled in 2004 after a bloody revolt. Caricom had refused to recognize Haiti’s U.S.-backed interim government, lifting the suspension only after it returned to democratic rule with elections in February.
Also Wednesday, incoming Caricom chairman and St. Kitts Prime Minister Denzil Douglas confirmed that regional leaders discussed Venezuela’s bid for a U.N. Security Council seat, which the United States opposes, but said it was not an agenda item.
Washington officials have encouraged Caribbean and Latin American nations to support Guatemala rather than Venezuela for the region’s rotating seat on the council, which may soon have high-stakes decisions to make about nuclear programs in Iran and North Korea.