Saturday, March 27, 2004

St. Kts: Caricom -- "what Haiti gov't?"

The 15-nation Caribbean Community withheld recognition from Haiti's U.S.-backed interim government Saturday as leaders closed a summit renewing calls for a U.N. investigation into the ouster of President Jean-Bertrand Aristide.

Leaders said they would take up the issue of whether to recognize the government again at a summit in July in Grenada.

"We can't determine this issue at this meeting," Trinidad Prime Minister Patrick Manning said. He added that discussions were "quite tense."
Caribbean leaders declined to participate in the current U.S.-led international force, angry that the Security Council refused their urgent plea to send troops in time to save Aristide, Haiti's first democratically elected leader.

Nevertheless, Manning said Trinidad will send 121 soldiers to join a separate U.N. humanitarian force in about two months. Other Caribbean countries are expected to follow.
On Friday morning Latortue faxed a conciliatory letter to Caribbean leaders, officials said. The letter was not made public, but officials said in it Latortue said his previous statements about the community and the rebels were misconstrued.

"Maybe if we had that letter from Mr. Latortue before he might have been here at this meeting," Douglas said. "The letter certainly changed the tone of our discussions, but the letter could have come before."

In Haiti, Latortue declined comment.
So what in Sam Hill did Caricom heads talk about if the most potentially explosive issue in the Caribbean is tabled?

Isn't it a good thing that U.S. soldiers are in country to keep the peace? If Haiti had to depend on Caricom, its people would be dead by now.

As for the Latortue letter, Wittgensten is right, sometimes silence is better. That's something PM Douglas needs to learn because his words sound ungraciously churlish.


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