PM's 're-emergence' at Haiti CARICOM event


Minister of Foreign affairs Fred Mitchell.

MINISTER of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell said Prime Minister Perry Christie’s participation in the CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting, held earlier that week, signalled his “re-emergence” in the Caribbean theatre.

“This was the first opportunity he had to attend a Heads of Government meeting since the general elections last year,” Mr Mitchell said.

He said the main issue discussed at the meeting was the question of security and the lead prime minister was Trinidad and Tobago leader Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

“The Council of National Security Ministers is actually chaired by the Bahamas, so there was a presentation made by the Minister of National Security for the Bahamas urging certain steps for the development of national security interests in the region,” Mr Mitchell noted.

He added that there was a discussion with United States Attorney General Eric Holder, in which Prime Minister Christie made the point that the United States has to do more in terms of contributing resources to Caribbean countries, as the security of the region and the security of America go hand in hand.

“And much of the insecurity in our countries is actually driven by issues in the United States,” Mr Mitchell said.

He pointed to the problems of illegal drugs, weapons and immigration.

“The United States has an obligation to pay and to put the resources in to help these countries resist the criminal activities in our own countries, as a result of what is going on in that country,” Mr Mitchell said.

He added that there was a denunciation of the export of criminals from the United States back to the Caribbean countries – a “huge” issue in the region.

Another issue discussed was the state of affairs in the Turks and Caicos Islands, with the Premier of the islands making a comprehensive presentation on where things now stand with the British and their disagreements on taxation, representation and the way that the British are governing the territory.

“We intervened in support of the Turks and Caicos Islands because we disagreed with the imposition of direct rule,” Mr Mitchell said.

Mr Mitchell added that he and National Security Minster Bernard Nottage paid a short visit on former President of Haiti Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who is now in private life and runs a medical school.

“He says that he is very happy to be back home, their children are happy to be there and, basically, he just lives a quiet life and says that politics is behind him,” Mr Mitchell said.

He added that CARICOM is important for the region, as it provides a stage for discussion and action for issues pertinent to the region.

“It is important when the conversation takes place for the head of the government to be there because it makes a big difference how people interact with a country when the head of the country is there,” Mr Mitchell said.

“There is a certain amount a foreign minister can do; but it is important for the head of government to be there.”


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