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Sir Ronald Sanders calls for a vision for Haiti

Statement on Haiti made by the President of the Permanent Council of the Organisation of American States, Sir Ronald Sanders, Ambassador of Antigua and Barbuda, at the conclusion of a Special Meeting on Haiti on 17 November 2023.

By Embassy of Antigua and Barbuda

USA / ANTIGUA – As we (OAS) conclude today’s meeting, it is crucial that we reflect deeply on the continuing plight of the Haitian people.

Their suffering, tragically amplified by the dominance of armed gangs, is rooted in a history marred by oppression, exploitation, and a series of dictatorships.

The profound poverty and underdevelopment of Haiti are not just symptoms but also the root causes of the country’s enduring challenges. While re-establishing security is an imperative step towards restoring law and order, making the streets safer, and offering a semblance of normality, we must recognize that it is just the beginning.

The resolution of Haiti’s problems does not end with the disarmament of gangs; that is only a gateway to a much-needed, broader economic and social transformation. A vision for Haiti should extend far beyond recovering it from lawless gangs and declaring, “Mission accomplished”.

The Haitian people, who have endured so much suffering for so long, deserve a future that aligns with the basic tenets of a civilized and thriving society. They deserve the dignity of decent housing; the certainty of access to essential services like water and electricity – not as privileges, but as fundamental rights. They deserve opportunities for employment that offer both sustenance and a path to a dignified life.

Education, the bedrock of progress, must be accessible to all children in Haiti, providing them with the knowledge and skills necessary to climb the ladder of success.

Furthermore, it is our collective responsibility to ensure that the shadow of dictatorship and the blight of corruption are lifted from their lives.

The Haitian people deserve no less than the opportunity to thrive in their own country and in circumstances where their rights are protected, their voices are heard, and their dreams are attainable, and Haitian women deserve a life free of violence and rape.

Let us leave this meeting with an understanding that our work does not end here; but we must get the priorities right, spending our effort and other resources on an agenda that is helpful and meaningful.

We should all make a concerted effort to stand with the Haitian people to make Haiti the country they want for this generation; the next generation and the generations yet unborn.



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