Caricom calls for free and fair elections in Haiti

File photo of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley hosts his first meeting as chairman of Caricom in January. Photo source: The Office of the Prime Minister
File photo of Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley hosts his first meeting as chairman of Caricom in January. Photo source: The Office of the Prime Minister

Caricom is calling for free and fair presidential elections to be held in Haiti, in accordance with that country's constitution and as early as possible. This position was outlined in a communique issued by the Caricom Secretariat on Friday, after the end of the 32nd Inter-Sessional Caricom Heads of Government meeting on Thursday.

Caricom said its leaders are concerned about "the deteriorating political situation and the deepening public anxiety over citizen security in Haiti."

Caricom also said it noted United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres' report on February 11 about the situation in Haiti. Caricom said its leaders underlined the importance of respect for the rule of law and constitutional processes as laid out in the Caricom Charter of Civil Society, and the primary responsibility of the government to this end.

Caricom urged the political actors in Haiti "to engage in dialogue to reach consensus on the way forward and establish an enabling environment for the conduct, as quickly as possible, of the elections to renew the lapsed legislative and local government institutions." At a news conference on Thursday, Caricom chairman Dr Rowley said Caricom ambassador Colin Granderson has been mandated to do a report for regional leaders on the situation in Haiti.

He also said Caricom leaders will compare Granderson's findings with an account of events given to them during the meeting by Haitian President Jovenel Moise. "We look forward to presidential elections being held in keeping with the constitution of Haiti. That very firm and clear statement will be coming out."

On differing political views in Haiti about when elections should take place, Rowley said, "We are urging Haiti to hold elections as soon as possible in keeping with the constitution of Haiti." He added, "Some of the difficulty has to do with the interpretation as to what the constitution says and does. I think that adjudication is where the intervention of assisting international bodies and partners, would help Haiti along the way to get to that position of having elections held without further disturbance and instability.

Moise has vowed to rule by decree until a new parliament is elected and a new president is sworn in on February 7, 2022. He was elected in a 2015 but that poll was later cancelled on grounds of fraud. He was elected again in 2016.

Moise was only sworn into office on February 7, 2017, and he and his supporters say that since his mandate only began on that date, it ends in 2022. Haitian opposition parties have staged public protests to demand Moise's removal.

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"Caricom calls for free and fair elections in Haiti"

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