Haiti’s Foreign Minister calls for collective action amidst coronavirus pandemic

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Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Haiti, His Excellency Dr. Claude Joseph, has urged his regional counterparts to take collective action as far as possible in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Minister Joseph chaired the 23rd Meeting of CARICOM’s Council for Foreign and Community Relations (COFCOR) which opened Thursday via video conference.

Noting the devastating threat the pandemic poses to the Caribbean Community, Dr Joseph said the Meeting was an opportunity to deliberate on critical issues, and to map a way forward.

Renewing Haiti’s firm commitment to participating actively in the work of the organs and institutions of CARICOM, he urged his colleagues to seize the opportunity to discuss and strategize the best ways to benefit from existing mechanisms of cooperation between CARICOM and its international partners.   

Reminding CARICOM Foreign Ministers of the global environment in which CARICOM finds itself, Minister Joseph said:

“… It is characterised by deeply divisive and challenging issues which have impeded cohesion which in turn has led to greater uncertainty and unpredictability. More specifically we are being confronted with the escalation of transnational organized crimes and regional conflicts, terrorism, climate change and its attendant problems, geopolitical competitions and issues of governance.”

At the regional level, he said the Community continues to face a range of development challenges including climate change, the use of GDP as the sole criterion for determining access to concessional financing, correspondent-banking, and blacklisting.

“To this existing list is added the increasing incidence of the Coronavirus pandemic whose dire consequences on the economic growth of the Caribbean region are already being felt. According to a study recently published by the Inter-American Development Bank, Caribbean tourism-driven economies could face a seventy-five per cent reduction in tourism arrivals during 2020,” the Haitian Foreign Minister stated. 

The 23rd Meeting of COFCOR was due to discuss, among other things, the increasing incidence of the COVID-19 pandemic on international relations.

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