Haiti’s President Michel Martelly has taken over the Chairmanship of the 15-member Caribbean Community (CARICOM) from St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Dr. Kenny Anthony. He will serve for six months from Jan. 1 to July 1.
The impoverished country has assumed the Chair for the first time since joining the regional integration movement in 1999 and has promised to promote sustainable development policies based on an effective cooperation strategy according to President Martelly.
Martelly in a statement issued by the CARICOM Secretariat in Georgetown, Guyana on Jan. 2, 2013 said: “Haiti gladly embraces this opportunity to provide leadership to the integration process for the next six months and looks forward to help strengthen the Caribbean Community.”
For the first time Haiti will also host an inter-sessional meeting of the regional heads of governments – the XXIV Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of State, which will be held in February.
In providing leadership to the integration process, Martelly said he would build on the “sterling work” of Anthony and would seek the support of Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar, who is the third member of the Bureau of Prime Ministers.
The Bureau comprises the immediate past chairman, the current chairman and the incoming chairman.
Trinidad and Tobago is due to take over the chairmanship from July 1 and is expected to host this year’s CARICOM Heads of Government meeting in July.
Referring to Haiti’s role in CARICOM, Martelly said Haiti must accelerate its integration into CARICOM and is committed to doing so during his tenure as chairman.
Noting that Haiti has assumed office in the year that CARICOM will celebrate its 40th year of existence, and when Haiti was marking its 209 Independence anniversary under the banner of freedom and unity, Martelly said it was also in unity and regional integration that all member states can overcome serious economic, environmental and social challenges facing CARICOM.