Sunday, February 29, 2004

T&T: Caricom never cared about Haiti

Part of the story is based on Salvation Army Captain Ulrick Thibaud, a Haitian who lives in T&T with his family. There's some whine involved, but it makes interesting reading. The other part is about a Haitian priest who serves with the Holy Gost Fathers of St. Mary's College -- one of the best schools in T&T. Here's a bit from Thibaud:

Referring to the previous history between Caricom and Haiti, he lamented that the community organisation never got involved enough to intervene in the country’s past turmoils and wants to know why everyone is making a fuss about the situation now.

“Caricom never said one word to do something in the past. They are trying to do something now and I don’t think its against their will, but Caricom countries have never been friendly to Haiti,” he said. “Haiti is alone in its battle. When things get bad, everybody trying to do something but when things good you do not hear about help for Haiti.” Thibaud said this is one reason why he is against armed international forces going into Haiti. “Haiti is a sovereign country, let them handle their battle by themselves,” he said. He felt that if Haiti cannot come to its own political solution, things will worsen. “Aristide should step down and give the country a chance to go forward and if the international community and if  Caricom wants to help, they should pressure Aristide to step down, that’s the only solution to this problem,” said Thibaud. The social worker said based on information he has been receiving, there are a lot of dead bodies on the streets and no one wants to bury them. He said there could be serious health implications if this continues to escalate.

Thibaud apparently doesn't appreciate that Haiti has been a member of Caricom since 1998 and that Caricom countries are going to emphasize rule of constitutional law, no matter how desperate a situation gets. Caricom heads are no doubt torn. On the one hand, they must see that Aristide's departure is essential for Haiti to avoid a civil war, but they can't say that because they don't wish to establish precedent for malcontents in their own countries to start a coup. The only English speaking Caribbean country to have had an aborted coup was T&T; that model of mal-governance is not one which Caricom wishes to see emulated. So, on the one hand, I abhor Caricom's inaction; on the other hand, Caricom countries are politically stable, and we want them to remain just like that.


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