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Haiti’s Prime Minister to visit Trinidad &Tobago

By Exilus Deceyon

Port of Spain, Jan. 24th, 2006 [AlterPresse] --- Haiti’s interim Prime Minister, Gerard Latortue, arrives in Trinidad and Tobago T&T today January 24th, 2006, for meetings with Prime Minister Patrick Manning, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced yesterday.

Latortue is expected to stay in Trinidad until Thursday January 26th and his itinerary includes a meeting with the secretary general of the Association of Caribbean States, Ruben Silie Valdes.

Details of Latortue’s schedule are expected to be given today.

Latortue’s visit comes ahead of the Caricom heads of government conference in Trinidad on February 9 and 10, at which regional leaders plan to discuss Haiti’s future.

This conference would follow Haiti’s presidential and parliamentary elections on February 7, 2006, after several aborted attempts since the ousting of president Jean Bertrand Aristide in February 2004. Aristide resides in exile in South Africa.

In the statement, the ministry said Manning, who is also Caricom chairman, believes Haiti’s troubled political and economic climate “requires a new intervention” by the regional grouping. Caricom wants to take part in the supervision of Haiti’s elections, the ministry indicated.

“Caricom has expressed its willingness to participate in international observation of the elections, through its election support group, as a further contribution to the forthcoming electoral process.”

Last week, Trinidad and Tobago’s Foreign Affairs Minister Knowlson Gift held discussions about Haiti with assistant secretary general of the Organisation of American States Albert Ramdin during the Caribbean Development and Cooperation Committee’s meeting in Port-of-Spain.

Ramdin was ordered by OAS secretary general Jose Miguel Insulza, whose appointment Trinidad and Tobago supported last year, to “discuss Haiti from a Caricom perspective” ahead of the Caricom summit next month, sustained the ministry. [ed rc apr 01/24/2006 15:30]