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Today,[11 March 2024] CARICOM convened Haitian Stakeholders and the following international development partners:   Brazil, Canada, France, Mexico, United Nations and the United States of America to discuss the multidimensional crisis in Haiti. 

This meeting followed a series of discussions over a period of time, including those facilitated by the Eminent Persons Group, which engaged a wide range of actors including Haitian political parties, the religious community, private sector, the diaspora, and civil society.

We are pleased to announce the commitment to a transitional governance arrangement, which paves the way for a peaceful transition of power, continuity of governance, an action plan for near-term security, and the road to free and fair elections. It further seeks to assure that Haiti will be governed by the rule of law. This commitment reflects hard compromises among a diverse coalition of actors who have put their country above all differences.

To that end:

We acknowledge the resignation of Prime Minister Ariel Henry, upon the establishment of a Transitional Presidential Council and the naming of an Interim Prime Minister.

And the following is agreed:

  • The creation of a Transitional Presidential Council comprised of seven voting members and two non-voting observers. The seven voting members will comprise one representative from each of the following groups: Collectif, December 21, EDE/RED/Compris Historique, Lavalas, Montana, Pitit Desalin, and the Private Sector. The non-voting members will be represented by one member from civil society and one member of the InterFaith community. The Council will exercise specified presidential authorities during the transition, operating by majority vote;
  • The exclusion from the Transitional Presidential Council of:
  1. anyone who is currently on a charge, indictment or has been convicted in any jurisdiction;
  2. anyone who is under UN Sanction;
  3. anyone who intends to run in the next election in Haiti;
  4. anyone who opposes the UN Security Council (UN SC) Resolution 2699.
  • The Transitional Presidential Council will swiftly select and appoint an interim Prime Minister;
  • The Transitional Presidential Council will together with the Interim Prime Minister appoint an inclusive Council of Ministers;
  • The Transitional Presidential council will hold the relevant and possible powers of the Haitian presidency during the transition period until an elected government is established. The Transitional Presidential Council will undertake the following:
  • Appoint an inclusive Council of Ministers;
    • co-sign the orders, decrees and to sign off on the agenda of the Council of Ministers
    • set the essential criteria for the selection of an impartial Provisional Electoral Council (CEP) and establish the Provisional Electoral Council;
    • make arrangements for a peaceful transition, ensure continuity of governance, and establish a national security council;
    • continue collaboration with all members of  the international community for the accelerated deployment of the  Multinational Security Support Mission authorized by UNSCR 2699/2023.

It is agreed that implementation of these measures will be conducted in parallel.

The parties also made specific, individual commitments regarding principles of inclusion, integrity, a restoration of peace, and an orderly transition of power.

These shared and individual commitments can represent important steps toward facilitating increased humanitarian access to help ease the suffering of the Haitian people.  The international community stands ready to partner with Haiti to achieve these goals. 

Haitian participants must now fully implement their commitments.  Haitians deserve a country where children can go to school and their parents know they will be safe.  We commend the willingness and courage of Haitian stakeholders to commit to put Haiti back on a path toward democracy, stability, and prosperity.  With a framework in place that illuminates a path forward, it is incumbent upon all Haitians to give the agreement a chance to work, to enter into a process of national dialogue, and to lay the groundwork for a transition that is based on inclusivity, encourages participation by all stakeholders, and paves the way for elections as soon as possible.  This is the only sustainable path to a future of strong democratic institutions, peaceful resolution of conflict, and security and prosperity for all Haitians

 

On Thursday, December 14, 2023, in Argyle, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, His Excellency Irfaan Ali, President of the Co-operative Republic of Guyana and His Excellency Nicolas Maduro, President of the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela held discussions on matters consequential to the territory in dispute between their two countries.

These discussions were facilitated by the Prime Minister of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and Pro-Tempore President of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Dr. The Honourable Ralph E. Gonsalves, and the Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica and Chairman of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Honourable Roosevelt Skerrit. Prime Ministers Gonsalves and Skerrit, together with H.E. Mr. Celso Amorim, Special Adviser and Personal Envoy of H.E. Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, President of the Federative Republic of Brazil, acted as principal Interlocutors. Also present were Honourable Prime Ministers of the Caribbean Community, namely: the Honourable Philip Davis, Prime Minister of The Bahamas; the Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados; the Honourable Dickon Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada; the Honourable Philip J. Pierre, Prime Minister of Saint Lucia; Honourable Terrence Drew of Saint Kitts and Nevis and Dr. The Honourable Keith Rowley, Prime Minister of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

Attending as Observers on behalf of His Excellency António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations were Their Excellencies Earle Courtenay Rattray, Chef de Cabinet of the Office of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, and Miroslav Jenca, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations Department of Political and Peacebuilding Affairs. In addition, His Excellency Alvaro Leyva Durán, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Colombia and Mr. Gerardo Torres Zelaya, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Honduras, in his capacity as CELAC Troika, also participated.

All parties attending the meeting at Argyle, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines reiterated their commitment to Latin America and the Caribbean remaining a Zone of Peace.

Guyana and Venezuela declared as follows:

 

  1. Agreed that Guyana and Venezuela, directly or indirectly, will not threaten or use force against one another in any circumstances, including those consequential to any existing controversies between the two States.

 

  1. Agreed that any controversies between the two States will be resolved in accordance with international law, including the Geneva Agreement dated February 17, 1966.

 

  1. Committed to the pursuance of good neighborliness, peaceful coexistence, and the unity of Latin America and the Caribbean.

 

  1. Noted Guyana’s assertion that it is committed to the process and procedures of the International Court of Justice for the resolution of the border controversy. Noted Venezuela’s assertion of its lack of consent and lack of recognition of the International Court of Justice and its jurisdiction in the border controversy.

 

  1. Agreed to continue dialogue on any other pending matters of mutual importance to the two countries.

 

  1. Agreed that both States will refrain, whether by words or deeds, from escalating any conflict or disagreement arising from any controversy between them. The two States will cooperate to avoid incidents on the ground conducive to tension between them. In the event of such an incident the two States will immediately communicate with one another, the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), the Community of Latin America and the Caribbean (CELAC), and the President of Brazil to contain, reverse and prevent its recurrence.

 

  1. Agreed to establish immediately a joint commission of the Foreign Ministers and technical persons from the two States to address matters as mutually agreed. An update from this joint commission will be submitted to the Presidents of Guyana and Venezuela within three

 

  1. Both States agreed that Prime Minister Ralph E. Gonsalves, the Pro-Tempore President of CELAC, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit, the incumbent CARICOM Chairman, and President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil will remain seized of the matter as Interlocutors and the UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres as Observer, with the ongoing concurrence of Presidents Irfaan Ali and Nicolas Maduro. For the avoidance of doubt, Prime Minister Gonsalves' role will continue even after Saint Vincent and the Grenadines ceases to be the Pro-Tempore President of CELAC, within the framework of the CELAC Troika plus one; and Prime Minister Skerrit’s role will continue as a member of the CARICOM Bureau.

 

  1. Both States agreed to meet again in Brazil, within the next three months, or at another agreed time, to consider any matter with implications for the territory in dispute, including the above-mentioned update of the joint commission.

 

  1. We express our appreciation to Prime Ministers Gonsalves and Skerrit, to President Lula and his Personal Envoy Celso Amorim, to all other CARICOM Prime Ministers present, to the officials of the CARICOM Secretariat, to the CELAC Troika and to the Head of the CELAC PTP Secretariat in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, His Excellency Dr. Douglas Slater, for their respective roles in making this meeting a success.

 

  1. We express our appreciation to the Government and people of Saint Vincent and the Grenadines for their kind facilitation and hospitality at this meeting.

 

Dated this 14th day of December, 2023.

Madame President,

The world is in an uncharted territory. There is but a narrowing window of opportunity to secure a liveable planet for all. 

With the climate crises raging around the world, affecting not only Small Island Developing States, like Saint Lucia and the members of the Caribbean Community [CARICOM], but developed countries as well, we are here to join hands together, uniting as a collective, to take ambitious action, with a sense of urgency to course-correct.  

We are here to ensure that every party answers our call at this COP to put us on a pathway that does not further compromise the futures of not only our particularly vulnerable nations, but all of our nations.

The impacts have been devastating to our Region.   Loss and damage have struck at the core of our economies and our societies.  At one extreme, lives and livelihoods have been lost. At the other extreme, our environment is under siege. 

We welcome the decision to at last make the loss and damage fund functional and look forward to the pledges to make it a reality. We thank the UAE and Germany for taking the first step and look forward to other states joining.

Madame President,

It is a fact that the international financial environment is ill-suited to support vulnerable countries access to affordable, sustainable, predictable, and scalable finance.

To address these financial challenges, CARICOM states including Saint Lucia are pursuing readiness projects to better access finance. 

We are also pursuing innovative financial initiatives from conservation bonds, to disaster clauses; and exploring new opportunities in carbon markets. 

We are pushing for a Reform Agenda for international financial institutions through the Bridgetown Initiative and new economic measurements that will include our vulnerability like the Caribbean Development Bank’s Recovery Duration Adjustment (RDA).

Madame President,

We are nearing the 1.5°C warming threshold and we must put people first before economic ratios and statistics.

We must leave Dubai assured of three key messages.

We leaders must commit to:

  1. Pursue 1.5°C Pathways for just, equitable and accelerated transition,
  2. Accelerate progress in implementation of the Global Goal on Adaptation,
  3. Deliver transformative finance for a 1.5°C Agenda

The time is now for world leaders to transform our world to a safer place for our children

and in this battle Taiwan must not be left behind.

Thank you.

Excellencies, Distinguished delegates,

What does it mean to hold the pessimism of climate disaster and the optimism of climate action together?

For too many decades the member states of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) have had to endure the Sisyphean task of pushing the climate disaster boulder up the mountain of climate ambition.

We raised the alarm in the 90s. In the decades that followed we put a human face on what was an esoteric scientific debate. We have been attempting to push multilateral negotiations toward conclusions that would save life and livelihoods and safeguard the very existence of our member states.

We have grown weary of telling the world and the major emitters that climate change is an urgent problem - that it is an existential threat, that it is the defining challenge of our times.

Our member states are leading the way in advancing adaptation and resilience initiatives, we continue to strengthen our renewable energy transitions and efforts to combat coastal erosion, sea-level rise and fresh water and agriculture challenges.

But the climate continues to change, the threat continues to grow and our member states continue to face an uncertain, potentially apocalyptic future.

This deepening climate crisis cannot continue to receive a response from major emitters that amounts to a reckless disregard of the consequences and obligations or their actions.

The current instrumentalism, lack of ambition and multilateral gridlock must be broken in the interest of our small island developing states, the vulnerable developing nations and the countries with a genuine interest in the success of solving our climate crisis.

And success has a clear definition:

  • Emissions targets that ensure global temperature increases below 1.5 degrees Celsius in relation to pre-industrial levels
  • Urgent, predictable, new and easily accessible adaptation financing, whose parameters will be determined by the needs of those most affected
  • And the delivery of pledges and commitments made

More precisely for CARICOM member states success will require:

  • Greater ambition to the 1.5°C goal from major emitters, with science driving all decision making on climate change, emphasizing the need for those who caused the problem to take responsibility and leadership in addressing it
  • The operationalization of the loss and damage fund and its funding arrangements at COP28 in the face of ever growing impacts on small island developing states
  • Systematic approaches for debt relief for CARICOM Member States in the context of unlocking new sources of finance for climate action and sustainable development including for robust work on vulnerability indices;
  • Targeted support for CARICOM Member States to implement their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), and adaptation plans as well as to support the just transitions for Member States
  • The inclusion of the Bridgetown Initiative as a new agenda item for the Fifth Meeting of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties to the Paris Agreement (CMA5) and COP 28;
  • The identification of strategic areas for technical support available amongst CARICOM Institutions that can assist Member States with implementation and resource mobilisation.
  • Ensuring that both the political and technical outcomes of the Global stock take serves the purpose of correcting our course toward meeting all of the Paris Agreement Goals

The Secretary General’s Acceleration agenda provides us with a pathway to success, an avenue to fast track climate action in every country, every sector and in every time frame. CARICOM will continue to support this agenda and work with all to accelerate the pace and scale of a just transition to a more equitable renewable-energy based, climate resilient global economy.

CARICOM’s ambitions in the face of this climate crisis are to safeguard our people, to develop sustainably and to thrive. But we will never be able to achieve these goals in the absence of robust ambition and deliverable action from those who have the means and the responsibility to change and correct the course of this crisis.

Thank you.

In recognition of Africa-CARICOM Day, we now can officially celebrate the strong and enduring bond between the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the African continent. We welcome the rekindling. We look to our neighbours, to that which was lost to us, to our kin. To those bound to us by blood, by circumstance, and to those who have also survived oppression and thrived in the face of systems designed to break us.

As a small island developing state, Saint Lucia has never been limited in its vision or ambition. When building from the ground up, you are forced to function on the premise of possibility and find functional solutions to obstacles that stand in the way of growth and development. As a Caribbean Community (CARICOM), we acknowledged the need to work together. We knew that we needed to take realistic approaches, moving as a collective within the international system, as individually we were and still are at a distinct disadvantage due to the comparative scarcity of resources and finite political capital. Global realities of the last few years demanded a further shift. One which saw the Region looking beyond our traditional partners. In our time of need, the African Union stepped in and offered significant support, during a period when resources and support of any kind were limited and virtually unavailable to smaller states. With these lessons in mind, we look with renewed focus on developing our South-to-South connections.

The First Africa-CARICOM Summit was held virtually on September 7, 2021, under the chairmanship of His Excellency Kenyatta, President of the Republic of Kenya. The theme of the Summit was: “Unity across continents and oceans: opportunities for deepening integration.” The African Region and CARICOM are one people, bonded by the legacy of slavery and colonisation, and connected through the African influence within our cultural heritage, those manifested and those forgotten.

During the Summit, Heads of State and Government looked back on the threads that wove our common history and looked forward to the future, focused on the need to purposefully move the needle, binding us closer to build more together. We saw what could be if we were to walk together and learned to lean on each other as partners in development, moving to strengthen linkages in trade, investment, air travel, and greater people-to-people contact between Africa and CARICOM. Together, we resolved to find pathways to overcome development challenges and amplify our voices in the global theatre, on issues that truly matter such as sustainable development and climate financing.

Recognising the significance of the occasion, September 7th was designated as Africa-CARICOM Day, aiming to forge a lasting connection and safeguard the future development of our people and Regions.

One of the main goals of the Africa-CARICOM Summit was to overcome the separation between Africa and the Caribbean. A separation built on more than just distance, fueled by misconceptions and inaccurate representations of what currently exists in Africa and what can exist if we were to work together. The first Afri-Caribbean Trade and Investment Forum (ACTIF22) was held in September 2022 and aimed to promote trade and investment, across sectors, including Tourism, Manufacturing, and Agriculture. The ACTIF22 welcomed over 1,267 participants from 108 countries. The ACTIF22 was heavily supported by the Governments of CARICOM, the AU, and the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank). The CARICOM offices of the Afreximbank were officially opened in Bridgetown, Barbados. Saint Lucia has signed onto a partnership agreement with Afreximbank, establishing a framework for cooperation, deepening the integration of our financial systems, and expanding the potential for Africa-Caribbean trade and investment relations. The Afreximbank has also made US$3 billion in funding available to participating member states of CARICOM to boost the development of trade. This year, the Caribbean Export Development Agency embarked on a trade mission in West Africa, aiming to facilitate business matchmaking between private companies in the two regions, as well as enabling dialogues between public sector agencies. Our very own Baron Foods Limited participated.

The relationship between the African Region and the Caribbean Community is an important one. In celebrating Africa-CARICOM day, it is crucial to also recognise the individual contributions that persons from the African Region have made to the Caribbean Region and more specifically Saint Lucia, in the fields of medicine, religious vocation, and industry, among others. For years we have been graced by their presence, efforts, and expertise, and we remain grateful.

I invite you to celebrate this Africa-CARCIOM day in your way, possibly by partaking in one of our shared cultural activities. The Regional Integration Unit, within the Office of the Prime Minister, has prepared a series of short video clips entitled Musings, from thought leaders across the Region, reflecting on the significance of the African-Caribbean connection. These musings will be made available on various social media platforms. I personally welcome your individual reflections as Saint Lucia and the Caribbean Community observe Africa-CARICOM day and engage in continued collaboration to further rekindle connections, as one people, growing, sharing, and caring, together.

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