Prime Minister Davis’s Remarks to Haiti Stakeholders Meeting

Your Excellencies:

Distinguished Invited Guests from The Republic of Haiti:

Ladies and Gentlemen:

My heartfelt thanks to you for joining us today in Kingston.

I understand that for many of you, the journey here is likely to have been difficult, possibly undertaken at great risk to your personal safety.

And so I say, thank you.

We are grateful for and humbled by your presence.

My invitation to you was extended on behalf of the Heads of Government of the Member States of Caricom, the Caribbean Community.

We convene this gathering not merely as neighbours but also as friends and especially as brothers and sisters.

Most of us in this region are the descendants of enslaved African people.

And so we hold in high esteem the revolutionary fight led Toussaint Louverture, which resulted in the declaration of the Republic of Haiti: the first independent nation of Latin America and The Caribbean, the first country in the Americas to eliminate slavery, and the only state in history established by a successful slave revolt.

During those 12 years of conflict, there was no guarantee of victory except the knowledge that their fight was for a just and noble cause.

And so, it is today.

Today, the fight is to end the suffering of the people of Haiti.

We have heard the many, many stories of the killings; the rapes; the kidnappings; the wanton acts of violence; the robberies and lootings; and the intimidation of the gangs, which currently plague large parts of Port-au-Prince and other areas of the country. 

My friends, we are here to help.

Ultimately, there must be a Haitian solution led by the people of Haiti.

We have heard the many cries for help, and we cannot, in good conscience, stand by and watch the continued suffering of the Haitian people.

To do nothing violates every notion of decency, every idea of what it means to be a good neighbour, and a fellow human being.

We believe that a solution can be found, and we are determined to do all that we can to find that solution, and support its success.

We believe in the Haitian people.

And we believe in the Haitian cause.

We believe that we can support you to restore your country to a state of Liberté, Egalité, and Fraternité.

This is why we have come.

We have come to help – and not because the task is easy.

We have come here precisely because the task is extremely difficult.

Others can resolve the easy things.

But a critical responsibility of leadership is to address those issues which are extremely difficult.

The responsibility falls to all of us – to all of you – to make a supreme effort to find an effective solution.

The challenges and struggles taking place in the Republic of Haiti have been present for far too long.

If there existed a perfect solution, we probably would have found it by now.

And so, I think it is important that we recognise that what we are striving for, may, in the end, not be perfect, but will likely be something that, in the immediate term, is effective.

Something that saves lives.

Something that brings an end to the killings.

Something that brings an end to the rapes.

Something that brings an end to the kidnapping and violence.

Something that brings an end to the looting, and the robberies and the gang warfare.

What lies short of perfection is something that requires us to hold some degree of an open mind.

Within each of us, we have to think it possible, that our own ideas may not perfect.

We have to think it possible, that listening, empathy and compromise is the most likely path to a solution, one which is not perfect for any of us, but by far the best for the Haitian people, and the survival of the Republic.

Think it possible, and I believe we may find it.

Your success is not just that of a people and of a country.

It also means the success of us all, your friends and neighbours, who identify with you in common humanity.

My Brothers and Sisters:

I was raised in the Christian Faith.

And our holy book, The Bible, tells us that each human being was created in the image and likeness of God.

I believe, therefore, that to gaze upon every human face, is to see the face of God.

This biblical injunction tells us that every person has something of the divine within them.

In doing so, we also recognise that God’s divine purpose is sometimes overwhelmed by all-too-human weaknesses, and by actions that cause harm.

And so as leaders, we are fully conscious that we are called to make some difficult choices, choices which may themselves require an infringement on that God-like likeness.

This is especially difficult when the forces of trouble and strife may be no more than children themselves, with little moral compass, and armed with weapons that can cause great harm.


Human beings are capable of great things.

We are able to look at an empty field, and imagine a grand house.

We can then build that house, and inspire hundreds of other people to help us with the construction.

Human beings are able to gaze at the moon and the stars, and then inspire thousands of people to help build a flying machine to help us to travel there.

And so it is with the Republic of Haiti.

We see a land and a people brought to their knees, and yet know that we can inspire the people of this region to help to rebuild that once-magnificent land.

Let us commit to try, and keep trying, and keep on trying until we find a workable solution.

We mustn’t give up.

Failure is not just an absence of success.

Failure equals more suffering and death.

Failure cannot be an option.

My thanks to you once again for coming.

You are, most welcome!