Letter of Appreciation to CARICOM and the People and Government of Jamaica

As Haitians and as members and representatives of grassroots organizations and institutions working for democracy and justice in Haiti, we take this opportunity to express our deep appreciation and gratitude to the people and government of Jamaica for their generous hospitality and kindness to the democratically elected President of Haiti and his family.

We thank Jamaica for standing firm, in the face of enormous pressure and intimidation, in not recognizing the un-elected government that replaced the Constitutional President and Government of Haiti through the bloody Coup D'etat of February 29, 2004.

In this most challenging time for the people of Haiti since the first Coup D'etat (1991-1994) against Haiti's first democratically elected President, we take comfort in remembering that an African freedom fighter from Jamaica -who would come to be known as the most noble of all Haitians in history - first struck the blow that would eventually bring down both slavery and colonialism in the Western Hemisphere. Jamaica's courageous and principled support for the rule of law and democracy in Haiti reminds us of this shared revolutionary legacy.

Over two hundred years ago, on August 14, 1791, on a hilltop at a wood clearing called Bwa Kayiman in Haiti, after 300 years of chattel slavery, brutality and imposed inhumanity, it was the African freedom fighter from Jamaica named Boukman, who stood up and led the African captives against the then most powerful nations in the world - France, Britain, and Spain.

We Haitians take courage and hold on fearless faith when we remember this and that 2004 is also our bicentennial. Jamaica, your courageous struggle today to support justice shall not be made in vain just as it wasn't for Boukman.

Thank you Jamaica for honoring the ancestors' greatest feat when few would dare. Thank you for showing respect for the one-person-one-vote principle. Tha nk you and the PJ Patterson Government for its generous and exceptional hospitality to the legitimate President of Haiti and his family during this most horrific time in the 200-year old Haitian struggle for self-rule and sovereignty.

Thank you members of CARICOM.

Our histories entwine and the overthrow of the democratically elected government of Haiti, in such a blatantly illegal and openly unconscionable manner, sets a dangerous precedent. But, the Jamaican people, its Government and CARICOM have sent a clear message that rule by force and coercion is unacceptable.

In holding fast to these principles and refusing to recognize the current illegitimate government in Haiti in spite of enormous pressure and intimidation, the Jamaican people and government have, again, set themselves apart in history as pioneers in the human rights struggle for global justice.

Thank you Jamaica.
Marguerite Laurent, Haitian Lawyers Leadership Network
Pierre Labossierre, Haitian Action Committee
Alina Sixto, Ajoupa
Jean Yvon Kernizan, Haitian Charities of America (HACHOFA)
Paul Mathieu, Organisation De Bienveillence National Haitienne (OBNH)
Louis Elneus, Haiti Lumiere
Jean Benoit, Asosiyasyon Chofe Taksi Ayisyen (ACT)
Picard Losier, Radio Ayiti
Lovinsky Pierre-Antoine, Fondasyon Trant Septanm
James St Furcy, Kitoko Insurance Agency

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