Haiti’s Martelly Travels to Suriname For Meeting With Bouterse

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - March 23, 2013

Above: the Amazon River in Suriname

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Haiti President Michel Martelly continued his South American tour with a visit to Suriname on Friday.

Martelly met with Suriname President Desi Bouterse in Paramaribo, discussing agriculture, the free movement of Haitians within CARICOM countries and Haiti’s participation in CARIFESTA, which Suriname will be hosting this year.

Martelly said Haiti would highlight its music, gastronomy, crafts and dance at CARIFESTA, the Caribbean’s regional cultural event. Haiti is seeking to host the event in 2015.

In a statement, Martelly said he spoke with Bouterse about the fact that Haitians cannot currently travel to Suriname without a visa, despite both countries being CARICOM member states.

According to Martelly, Bouterse said he would work to resolve this issue “in the shortest possible time,” and that he would work to “regularize” the situation of Haitians living illegally in Suriname.

The two sides also discussed the problem of air travel between the two countries; travel to Suriname from Haiti currently requires a layover in Miami, although last year national carrier Surinam Airways expressed interest in flying the direct route.

The government of Suriname said in a statement that it had identified opportunities to export products in areas in which Haiti has the “greatest need,” to help stimulate the “reconstruction and stimulation of the private economy.”

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