January 28, 2010

Guyana open to short term care for Haitians

Guyana would be prepared to support a regional initiative to relocate survivors of the Haitian earthquake, according to President Bharrat Jagdeo, who also says the country’s homes and hospitals would be open to children that need care.

On Tuesday, Jagdeo told a news conference that his administration would work with Caricom to establish a framework for the migration of Haitians to different parts of the Caribbean. He said that Caricom Secretary General Edwin Carrington had noted the need for a cautious approach to the issue. Already, the Bahamas has ordered the release of illegal Haitian immigrants and suspended their repatriation, while Jamaica has reported that its government has been putting in place strategies to deal with an influx of refugees from Haiti.

While emphasising that there is yet to be clarity about a common framework to approach the issue, Jagdeo assured that Guyana would do its part. “Ultimately, in the long run, we can’t empty the country of Haitians,” he noted, saying rebuilding efforts need support. “…I would be prepared to work with Caricom to establish a framework that will bring-at least in the short term-temporary relief to those people who may have needs outside of Haiti, including children,” he added.

Jagdeo said he had heard of a move to send child survivors to countries where they could receive care. “We are very interested in that sort of thing and if the region decides on that approach and the Haitian people decided that that is also in their best interest… our homes and hospitals would be open to those children,” he declared. He also said Haitians living in Guyana could bring their family to live with them, while government would fund the cost of bringing Guyanese in Haiti home.

He added that the administration would continue working with Caricom to coordinate the health response, and it is waiting for the cost of the initiative.

According to Jagdeo, the local coordinating committee has been working extremely well and he commended donors for their support, which has mounted to around $250M.

He alluded to horrific images of women and children looking for assistance and receiving none and reiterated the need to do everything possible to help them, since the disaster could have happened anywhere.

He also dismissed “fringe” criticism that Guyana, as a poor country, should not be sending money to Haiti. He called it unbelievably narrow-minded in the face of such a tragedy.

Meanwhile, addressing the US involvement in Haiti, Jagdeo said there is need for more involvement. “What we don’t need in Haiti is less American involvement,” he explained, “we need more American involvement because frankly speaking America has the capacity to deal with this catastrophe that very few countries in our part of the world have.” At the same time, he said the US needs to understand that it needs to work in partnership with the region, and not to shut people out.

Last Thursday, while in a meeting with Iran’s Vice-President Veep Rahimi, Jagdeo accused the US of acting in its own interest around the world and of blocking a visit of regional leaders to the quake-devastated Haiti. A delegation of Caricom leaders, including Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit-the chairman of Caricom-was turned back twice by US officials manning the airport in Port-au-Prince.

Jagdeo said the situation has since improved tremendously with closer collaboration in coordinating efforts. “I recognise the role of the US,” he said, adding that there is no other country in the hemisphere that could take charge of the situation. Jagdeo also said: “The scale of the devastation is too great for any other country, so we are very pleased and what we called for-when I was critical of this-is not less American involvement but more American involvement, more money, more resources, but that it should be done in a collaborative fashion”.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thanks after sharing. Like often, on the well-to-do and bang on on quarry!