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SVG's RESPONSE TO THE BUREAU
(Unity Labour Party of St. Vincent and the Grenadines.)

The position of the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the Bureau's recommendation on the issue of Haiti was spelt out in Prime Minister Gonsalves letter to CARICOM's Chairman. Comrade Ralph's Letter of August 5, 2004, reads as follows:

Dr. Keith Mitchell,

I write to you in your capacity as Chairman of CARICOM.

I have been invited by the CARICOM Secretariat to respond to the Bureau's recommendations on Haiti. Accordingly, I respectfully state the following:
  1. St. Vincent and the Grenadines rejects unequivocally the Bureau's recommendation for CARICOM's political engagement with Haiti in the terms stated.
  1. St. Vincent will not have its Prime Minister sit at any CARICOM meeting, Heads of Government Conference or otherwise, with the so-called Prime Minister of the Interim Administration in Haiti until there is clear and unequivocal evidence that there is at the very least.
    1. A return to genuinely competitive political democracy in which all political parties and their leaders can function freely.
    2. A stabilization of the condition of law, order, and justice which reasonable persons can deem to be satisfactory.
    3. An end to political terror and wanton victimization against opponents of the current regime in Haiti.
    4. That free and fair elections would be held in a reasonable time.
    5. The observance of CARICOM's Charter on Civil Society by the administration in Haiti.
  1. Under the current circumstances St. Vincent and the Grenadines will not recognize the installed government in Haiti.
I further state the following:
  1. I reject the undue haste by CARICOM on this issue of Haiti. Never in the history of CARICOM has it moved with such expedition on an issue. Why?
  2. I remind my colleagues that a duly elected President was unconstitutionally removed from office. Every person of balanced judgment and unprejudiced mind in CARICOM, the leaders and the people, must realize that President Aristide did not surrender his Presidency voluntarily. Those who wish to compromise on this principle are free to do so, but I am not doing so.
  3. All the favourable reviews given so far by some of the Interim Prime Minister's "good intentions" do not impress me at all. As a practical man of affairs I am not swayed by the recent sugar-coated statements of Mr. Latortue. Actions must match these words.
  4. Haiti is a member of our CARICOM family. External forces acted in their interests to facilitate the unconstitutional removal of a duly elected President. On Haiti, I will not dance to the music nor to the lyrics of those who aided and abetted President Aristide's removal.
  5. President Jagdeo of Guyana knows that I went along at the Heads' Meeting in Grenada in July 2004 with the idea of sending CARICOM's Foreign Ministers to Haiti only to preserve CARICOM's unity on Haiti. I will, however, not be part of a false unity which is based on an abandonment of fundamental principles.
Frankly, I am shocked at the extent to which some in CARICOM are going so as to prepare the ground to capitulate on our earlier principled stand on Haiti. I know that the people of the region will never forgive those who so capitulate. History, too, will be most unkind to them.

I hope that the position of the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is made crystal clear in this letter. I am available for clarifications on our Government's stance. I am not available for any lobbying to change my position.

cc: All Prime Ministers of CARICOM


RALLY ROUND SVG'S POSITION

Comrade Ralph, our Prime Minister, has been articulating the position of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on the Haiti issue regionally over the past few days. He has briefed Prime Ministers. Anthony and Mitchell and CARICOM's Secretary-General. He has spoken to certain NGO leaders and journalists regionally. He has been interviewed on radio in Barbados and Jamaica and on TV6 in Trinidad. It is incumbent on the people of St. Vincent and the Grenadines, the region, and the world, to endorse the principled position of the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines and in defense of the interests of the people of Haiti. Already e-mails of support from far and wide have been pouring in to the Office of the Prime Minister.

The position of the Government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines is fortified by that of the President of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki. In a nine-page letter published in ANC Today (Volume 4, No. 29, 23-29 July, 2004), a copy of which was sent to Comrade Ralph Gonsalves, Mbeki details the horrors in Haiti currently. Under the leading "Haiti after the Press went home", President Mbeki makes the case to keep isolated the interim administration in Haiti.

Surely, we must be able to stand up for principle in relation to our family member, Haiti!
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