Antigua PM: “The Future of the Caribbean Depends on How Haiti Will Play Its Role”
Above: Antigua PM Baldwin Spencer and Haiti Foreign Minister Pierre Richard Casimir (OP Haiti)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Baldwin Dr Spencer’s visit to Haiti began with the signing of a series of Memoranda of Understanding on areas including tourism and education.
The trip was the first to Haiti for Spencer, who is also Antigua’s Foreign Minister.
“The future of the Caribbean depends on how Haiti will play its role in the region,” Spencer said following the signing ceremonies in Port-au-Prince. “We will establish a solid foundation, and thanks to the passion and love of President Martelly, we can achieve our goal.”
The first agreement was signed by Haiti Tourism Minister Stephanie Villedrouin and Calvin Ambrose, the executive director of the Hospitality Training Institute of Antigua and Barbuda, and will focus on hospitality training and tourism, particularly sports and agro-tourism.
There are currently 10 Haitian students participating in a variety of two-year programmes at the ABHTI, jointly funded by the Caribbean Hotel Association Educational Fund and the ABHTI.
“The agreement will allow Antigua and Barbuda to tap Haiti’s vast market for goods and services, trade and investment opportunities while allowing the formation of synergies in tourism-related services,” Spencer said in a statement. “Our intention is also create the enabling environment for the private sector, architects, contractors, other professionals and civil society to seize tangible opportunities that exist in Haiti which can only be of tremendous mutual benefit.”
The second was signed by Foreign Minister Pierre Richard Casimir and Spencer covering ares like trade, investment and construction.
On Thursday, Spencer will travel to Lafiteau, where he will meet with the leaders at the factory in Les Moulines d’Haiti to explore potential business opportunities.
In a statement, Martelly’s office called the trip a “first in the history of both countries.”
“We view Haiti not merely as a challenged society, but also as a CARICOM Member State rich with potential and real opportunities for trade in goods and services,” said Spencer, who returns to Antigua Friday.
Antigua Finance Minister Harold Lovell is acting as PM during Spencer’s absence.