PM Harris calls on DR to cease, desist

Dr Timothy Harris addresses the 32nd CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting. (CARICOM Photo)
Dr Timothy Harris addresses the 32nd CARICOM Heads of Government Meeting. (CARICOM Photo)

BRIDGETOWN – Prime Minister of St. Kitts and Nevis, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris has called on Dominican Republic authorities to cease and desist with any plan that would lead to the expulsion of Dominicans of Haitian descent and render them stateless.

Dr. Harris was addressing the opening ceremony of the 36th Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM in Bridgetown, Barbados on Thursday. The Meeting is being held under the theme Vibrant Societies, Resilient Economies.

Prime Minister Harris, who was elected to office in February, said the people of St.Kitts and Nevis shared the pain and anguish of the unfortunate Dominicans of Haitian descent and stood with them in opposition to the present assault on their human rights and dignity.

There is no other time for which Regional unity and solidarity are more important than with the current humanitarian and human rights crisis affecting our Haitian brethren and the beleaguered Dominicans of Haitian descent, documented or not, born and living in the Dominican Republic,” said Dr. Harris

Continuing on the theme of Regional Integration, he also expressed that unity among member states was a vital strategy for building the economic resilience of CARICOM. According to him, CARICOM Member States were at the front lines of some of the most serious global problems, whose impacts bear on them disproportionately and pose a threat to their way of life, welfare and existence. He noted however that the people of the Community recognized the value of being together as small states in a competitive and asymmetrical world.

The people of our Community have declared resolutely that after more than four hundred years of being acted upon it is time for us to act for ourselves and to do for ourselves what no one else can, will or should do for us. Dr. Harris said.

The St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister also spoke of several major international meetings that will be held in the upcoming months including the United Nations Post-2015 Development Agenda; the Third International Conference on Financing for Development and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change Conference. He said the meetings provided an ideal opportunity for the Caribbean Community to leverage the full weight of its collective voice and vote to ensure its effective and meaningful participation in those negotiations, asserting and inserting a small state perspective and protecting the interests of the people.

He said that there would also be the opportunity to engender a paradigm shift that allowed the independent nations of the Region to break free from outdated systems, agendas and philosophies.

In closing, Prime Minister Harris used the opportunity to provide assurance of his government’s commitment to carry the CARICOM integration process forward.

Long live Caribbean Unity,Long Live CARICOM,” he said.

Caribbean Export Awards €700,000 to Agri-business and Handicraft Firms in Haiti and the Dominican Republic

The Caribbean Export Development Agency (Caribbean Export) has awarded €700,000 to 31 firms and Business Support Organizations (BSOs) in Haiti and the Dominican Republic via the Binational Grants Programme, as part of the Haiti/Dominican Republic Binational Programme, Commerce Component, funded by the European Union under the 10th European Development Fund (EDF).
The announcement was made at the launch and reimbursement workshops in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, on 16th and 20th March, 2015, respectively. Grant contracts were awarded to 21 Dominican organizations for an approximate value of €500,000, and to 10 Haitian firms for an approximate value of €200,000.
The resources seek to benefit companies and BSOs from the agribusiness and handicraft sectors that are currently exporting or that have the potential to export their products, with the purpose of increasing their competitiveness by increasing production capacity, developing market and export strategies, participating in international fairs, obtaining quality certifications, among others.
Opening remarks at the launch event in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic were given by Ambassador Alberto Navarro, head of the EU Delegation to the Dominican Republic; Mr. Antonio Vargas, National Authority of the European Development Funds and Director of the General Directorate of Multilateral Cooperation (DIGECOOM); and Mr. Escipión Oliveira, Deputy Executive Director of the Caribbean Export Development Agency.
In Port-au-Prince, Haiti, opening remarks at the launch were delivered by Ambassador Javier Niño Pérez, Head of the EU Delegation to Haiti who congratulated the grant recipients expressing that they “presented solid projects that reflect a vision and a development strategy for the medium and long term that will contribute to the building of a more dynamic Haitian economy”. Mr. Charles Jean Jacques, National Authority of the European Development Funds (BONFED); and Mr. Jean-Claude Merine, Deputy Programme Manager of Caribbean Export Development Agency also addressed the attending audience.
The reimbursement workshops were conducted by Mr. Horacio Alvarez, Private Sector Expert at the Caribbean Export Development Agency, with the participation of more than 50 executives and representatives of Dominican and Haitian beneficiary firms and BSOs.

Antigua and Barbuda makes Donation to Haiti Disaster Response

ST. JOHN’S, AntiguaThe Government of Antigua and Barbuda on Monday officially made a donation of EC$153, 331.41 to the CARICOM Secretariat raised from the Antigua –Haiti Disaster Response 2010 Account established at the Antigua Commercial Bank on January 13, 2010 following a massive earthquake which devastated Haiti.

The Government opened the account with $100, 000 and encouraged citizens of Antigua and Barbuda to make donations which would form part of CARICOM’s efforts to rebuild the country.

On Monday, following the transfer of the funds to the CARICOM Secretariat, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the Office of the Prime Minister, Ms. Paulette Otto commended the people of Antigua and Barbuda for their demonstration of support which she says will be added to contributions from other CARICOM countries to provide much needed comfort to a great deal of Haitians who are re-building their country.

Permanent Secretary Otto also urged Antiguans and Barbudans to continue to keep the people of Haiti in their prayers as they battle the challenges of rebuilding and fighting the spread of cholera.

The funds raised will go towards CARICOM’s project planning support for Haiti which include housing and shelter, debris removal, health and sanitation, education and agriculture.

Sekou’s ‘Haiti 200’ selected by amazon.com

lmsekou-California-2010GREAT BAY, St. Martin – “For Sekou, the commitment to struggle means working in all areas of literary production, forging communities across borders and languages,” said professor and literary critic Juliana Spahr.

Dr. Spahr introduced the St. Martin writer Lasana M. Sekou to the Mills College Contemporary Writers Series (CWS) in Oakland, California, on February 23, said Jacqueline Sample, president of House of Nehesi Publishers (HNP).

Sekou opened his hour-and-a-half solo “literary event” with two new poems, “Labrish” and “Citizen,” to a full house of students, faculty and other guests in the elegant Mills Hall Living Room, said Sample.

He then launched into varied St. Martin, Caribbean-wide and international-issue poems from his books 37 Poems and The Salt Reaper, both published by HNP.

The students of Spahr, a Mills associate professor, had studied The Salt Reaper before Sekou’s arrival and were ready with questions for the author following his recital.

Spahr’s introduction to Sekou was actually a critique of his work prepared by author David Buuck who called Sekou “a fierce advocate for the independence of his home nation St. Martin.” 

Sekou’s California appearance also took him across the Bay Bridge SPT executive director Samantha Giles said, “It was a pretty spectacular night!”
The poem, with music by Angelo Rombley, is from The Salt Reaper CD (2009), which is available in St. Martin bookstores and downloadable online.

The 35-year-old SPT is housed at California College of the Arts-San Francisco. Sekou autographed books at both readings.

“After returning home early last week Lasana got the news that his poem ‘Haiti 200’ was selected by Amazon.com for its Haiti earthquake ‘MP3 albums’ list,” said Sample.

As for the California trip, the author said that he enjoyed meeting the students, professors, community activists, authors such as Patricia Powell and David Buuck, upcoming poets like Raphael Cohen, and the CWS and SPT organizers.

Caption1:(L-R) Mills College prof. Stephanie Young, author Taylor Brady, SPT executive director Samantha Giles, poet Lasana M. Sekou at SPT reading, California. (Saltwater Collection)

Caribbean musicians play for Haiti

TORONTO, Canada – Caribbean beats on Sunday will carry the heartfelt good wishes of West Indians in Canada for the people of Haiti.
A seasoned Trinidadian musician in Toronto, Joseph Maharaj, says he and his band of musicians are ready to serve the people of Haiti this weekend when Noasarc and the Caribbean Media Exchange partner to stage a “Haiti Carnival” fund-raising benefit this Sunday, February 28 at the Lula Lounge at 7 p.m. (1585 Dundas St. West) in Toronto.

Maharaj, keyboardist and the leader of the 4DE1 band, whose members hail from the Caribbean, said while regional efforts to help Haiti have been a little slow, it is time to redouble energies now that many of the cameras are leaving and the people of Haiti begin to put their lives together after last month’s deadly earthquake.

“We could have done a lot more for Haiti before the earthquake,” mused Maharaj, “however, as sons and daughters of the Caribbean, I think it is a great thing that we are coming together as one voice on Sunday to support such a charitable cause for our brothers and sisters back home.”

Maharaj, whose band of musicians represent several genres – from reggae to R & B – will be joined by another Trinidadian-led band, headed by soul singer Justin Bacchus; African drummers; Afro-Caribbean Dancers; and a jazz and blues group featuring Canadian keyboardist Sean Bellaviti.
A highlight of the evening will be the internationally acclaimed mentalist Haim Goldenberg, a popular Israeli-Canadian, whose “mind-reading” exploits have been dazzling TV viewers in Canada and abroad.

Jade Mountain and Anse Chastanet, two of the world’s top resorts and the friendly Coco Palm head up the dazzling array of resorts in St. Lucia donating rooms for auction on Sunday at Toronto’s Lula Lounge. Downstream in the Caribbean, the glittering Radisson Aruba Resort, Casino & Spa have also contributed to the live auction at the event which attracts a suggested entrance fee of CAD $40.

All proceeds from the event will support the work of Airline Ambassadors International which has delivered up to two million pounds of food, water, medicine, tents etc. and more than 600 doctors and nurses to Haiti. They are running the best public-private hospital in Haiti which is being positioned to become the leading teaching institution in the country for orthopedic after care, including amputations and re-amputations.

CMEx Director Lelei LeLaulu said “it was time to recognize organizations which do a lot but do not get the attention they deserve” and will present an award to the Belinda Stronach Foundation of Toronto in recognition of the Canadian charity’s generous support of Airline Ambassadors and other relief efforts in Haiti.
The Caribbean Media Exchange provides a neutral platform for the continuing discussion of the key linkages between media, government, private sector and civil society in ensuring tourism enhances the health, environment, education, culture, and wealth of destinations in a climate friendly fashion.
For further information, contact Maria Noa Habchi at marianoa_habshi@yahoo.ca.