CARICOM Chairmanship Puts Haiti in the Driver's Seat

Haiti has achieved a first in the history of the Caribbean Community's Conference of Heads of Government (CARICOM), appointed to the Chairmanship of the regional body. Haiti President Martelly took the reins of leadership on January 1, 2013. The event was supposed to happen in 2010, before Haiti's earthquake smashed the island to smithereens. Then-President Rene Preval ceded the chairmanship to Jamaica.


Throughout his presidency, Martelly has raised concerns about Haiti's integration within CARICOM's governing body. He wants French to become a certified language, claiming over half of CARICOM's members speak French or Créole. He also intends to make certain Haiti, as a member-nation of CARICOM, reaps the fruits of its membership.

One key issue Martelly says Haiti will pursue is to urge nations' sustainability, predicated on the advancement of green initiatives. This, he adds, will strengthen economies throughout the Caribbean.

Another priority of Martelly's is to change biased attitudes toward Haitian members in CARICOM by other member-nations. Haitian members have been singled out for prejudicial treatment in the form of denied posts and other perks normally given to other member-nations. Martelly emphasizes the importance of solidarity within CARICOM, explaining a house unified is a house that ". . . can achieve . . . great development in this . . . formidable global environment."

Finally he said he looked forward to seeing CARICOM members at Haiti's 24th Intercessional Meeting of Conference of Heads of State and Government in February.

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