RESPONSE TO THE BUREAU
(Unity Labour Party of St. Vincent and
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:
- St. Vincent and the Grenadines rejects unequivocally the Bureau's
recommendation for CARICOM's political engagement with Haiti in the
- 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.
- A return to genuinely competitive political democracy in which
all political parties and their leaders can function freely.
- A stabilization of the condition of law, order, and justice which
reasonable persons can deem to be satisfactory.
- An end to political terror and wanton victimization against opponents
of the current regime in Haiti.
- That free and fair elections would be held in a reasonable time.
- The observance of CARICOM's Charter on Civil Society by the administration
I further state the following:
- Under the current circumstances St. Vincent and the Grenadines will
not recognize the installed government in Haiti.
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 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
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
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
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!