The international community, as represented by the Core Group, must be stopped from repeating its misguided policies that have helped to push Haiti into a state of sustained crisis.
On Saturday, the Core Group, which is an informal bloc of diplomats in Haiti who represent the United States, Canada, France, Germany, Brazil, Spain, the European Union, the United Nations and the Organisation of American States, issued a statement acknowledging Dr Ariel Henry as “designated prime minister”. It was widely seen as a snub to Claude Joseph whom the same Core Group had legitimised as prime minister in the immediate aftermath of the assassination of President Jovenel Moise. The statement clearly rankled Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley, who posted a comment saying it was not just a snub for Joseph; that “the real snub and outright INSULT (his emphasis) is the absence of even a mention (far less recognition in any form) of Caricom.”
We could not agree more.
It should be noted, however, that Caricom is not the only one snubbed by the Core Group. As analyst Jake Johnston of the Centre for Economic and Policy Research told the Washington Post, “while many see this as a snub of [Joseph], it should be seen more so as a snub of Haitian civil society organisations who are meeting today to come up with a Haitian-led solution to the current impasse”.
There is a lot to unpack regarding Dr Rowley’s statement on the kowtowing that has created the division within Caricom’s ranks that has resulted in this disrespect of Caricom. However, the immediate priority for Dr Rowley should be to rally Caricom in staking out a position for itself that is openly on the side of the Haitian people. In doing so, Caricom will have to accept that there is no legitimate government in Haiti and that it will need to create the diplomatic capacity for negotiating the difficult political minefield inside that country. This is why this newspaper has urged Caricom to focus its resources on facilitating current efforts by the broad-based “Commission for the Search for a Haitian Solution to the Crisis” which includes professional organisations, civil society groups, political parties and representatives from the diaspora, among others.
This commission has strongly condemned the Core Group, especially UN special envoy for Haiti, Helen La Lime, who had incurred the wrath of many Haitians by urging Joseph to hold elections. Now, it is Ariel Henry who is being hustled by the Core Group to form a “consensual and inclusive government”.
Caricom must do everything it can to ensure that the will of the Haitian people is respected and not trampled upon by the international community in its haste to install yet another leader through yet another flawed and illegitimate election.
Haitians are begging the international community to be allowed the space for holding free, fair and democratic elections. As Magali Comeau Denis, co-ordinator for the “Commission for a Haitian Solution”, said in an interview with the US media, “for once, listen to us”.
If the Core Group has Haiti’s best interest at heart, it needs to get out of the way of Haitians.