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Govt says it consulted with Haiti prior to DR president's visit

Monday, December 04, 2017

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Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Kamina Johnson Smith says that the Government had consultations with Haiti on the treatment of its people in the Dominican Republic (DR) prior to last week's visit by the Dominican President.

“We have continued to engage with our brothers in the Haitian Government to ensure that they are satisfied with the progress of matters between themselves and the Dominican Republic,” Senator Johnson Smith told the Senate on Friday.

“It is a matter that has inflamed the passions of all of us, but we must continue to monitor how things progress, and our discussions with the Haitian Government has led us to the position which we have currently taken,” said Johnson Smith, who is also the Leader of Government Business in the Senate.

She was responding to a question from Opposition Senator Lambert Brown about President Medina Sanchez's one-day State visit to Jamaica last week Monday. The trip was highlighted by the signing of several bilateral agreements and the conferment of the Order of Excellence on the DR's President by the Governor General at a ceremony at King's House.

President Medina, in turn, conferred on Prime Minister Holness Order of Merit of Duarte, Sanchez and Mella in the rank of Grand Cross with Gold Breast Star. He also met with Leader of the Opposition Dr Peter Phillips.

The matter was raised in the Senate on Friday by Senator Floyd Morris, who noted the visit and the exchange of honours between the two leaders, when he responded to a statement from Senator Johnson Smith on Saturday's United Nations International Day for the Abolition of Slavery.

He added that the Opposition hoped that in behind-the-scenes discussions between the two leaders, words were passed about the situation that exists about the Haitians' experiences in the Dominican Republic.

“I really hope that that situation will come to an amicable resolution, and that we send a clear signal that we don't condone any form of dehumanising behaviour or discrimination anywhere on the planet,” Dr Morris said.

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