Haiti President Michel Martelly Meets With CARICOM Delegation

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - September 21, 2012

Above: the delegation’s meeting in Haiti (Photo: OP Haiti)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Haiti President Michel Martelly met Thursday with a delegation from the Caribbean Community led by Secretary General Irwin LaRocque.

The working visit by CARICOM was aimed at initiating early discussions over Haiti’s assumption of the CARICOM chairmanship, which will begin Jan. 1, 2013.

The CARICOM group included LaRocque, Assistant Secretary General Colin Granderson, General Counsel Neville Bissember and Earl Stephen Huntley, the director of the Representative Office of CARICOM in Haiti.

The talks focused on issues including education, vocational training, university teacher training and the presence of Haitian professionals within CARICOM.

Also on the agenda was the integration of the French language in the work of CARICOM, something Martelly urged at the Meeting of Heads of Government in Castries, St Lucia in July.

At the time, Martelly called for French to be accepted as an official CARICOM language, with more than 55 percent of CARICOM’s population speaking French or Creole.

In a statement, Martelly and the CARICOM delegation said they were “satisfied” with the talks.

Earlier this week, CARICOM signed a declaration to become a new partner in an alliance aimed at fighting cholera in Haiti and the Dominican Republic.

The Regional Coalition on Water and Sanitation for the Elimination of Cholera in the Island of Hispaniola was launched in Salvador, Bahia, Brazil in June.

The signing took place at a briefing of ministers of health on Haiti’s cholera epidemic.

Between October 2010 and May of this year, at least half a million people have become ill as a result of cholera in Haiti, with more than 7,000 losing their lives.

According to data from the Pan American Health Organization, even before Haiti’s 2010 earthquake, just 69 percent of people in Haiti had access to safe drinking water.

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