Ambassador Newry Likely To Be Re-Assigned
Bahamian Ambassador to Haiti Dr. Eugene Newry may be re-assigned, according to Prime Minister Perry Christie, who was a guest on the Radio Love 97 Programme "Jones and Company" Sunday.
"I believe personally that this is a good time to re-assign him," Mr. Christie said.
"I have offered the full services of my government in ensuring that if it is his desire, we will do so, failing which, I have asked the Foreign Minister to give specific consideration to servicing Haiti as a non-resident embassy."
Dr. Newry returned home on April 18, one day after his wife, Francoise, and her security aide, were shot and slightly injured during an armed robbery at a market in Port-au-Prince a day earlier.
The shooting left many people wondering about the safety of Bahamian personnel in the Western Hemisphere's poorest nation, although government officials said they were satisfied that the incident was not an attack on Bahamian interests in Haiti.
Mr. Christie indicated that the Americans, Canadians and the French have asked the government not to close its embassy in Haiti because they value Dr. Newry's participation.
"They saw real value in his knowledge and feeling for Haiti," the prime minister said.
He said, "It is Dr. Newry's choice. We gave him an assignment. We withdrew him because of concern about his safety and the safety of his family and the other embassy staff there. I've had a very long discussion with Dr. Newry. I have expressed to him that I value his services and he knows that I am prepared to re-assign him. I have great respect for him."
The prime minister was also asked by the show's host, Wendall Jones, to comment on a decision made last week by the United States to pull out of a high-level crime and security meeting with Caribbean representatives that was set for The Bahamas this week.
Mr. Christie admitted that the U.S. put off the meeting due to CARICOM's unwillingness to allow any official of Haiti's interim regime to attend. Caribbean leaders plan to discuss whether to officially recognize the government that replaced ousted President Jean Bertrand Aristide when they meet in July.
"The Bahamas has not compromised its relationship with America," the prime minister said. "America understands that The Bahamas has not compromised its relationship with America and when Mrs. Newry was hurt recently in Port-au-Prince, not only were the Americans and Canadians offering safe passage to us, but we were in open communication with them."
He said no prime minister of the region disagrees with the Americans in their view that Haiti should play a full role in CARICOM.
"But there has to be a process," Mr. Christie said. "We had hoped that Mr. [Gérard] Latortue, the prime minister of Haiti, would have withdrawn his publicly-stated remarks that he was going to suspend relations with CARICOM, freeze relations with Jamaica.
"His letter coming into us, came at the end of our conference and so we said very clearly when prime ministers meet in July we now have the basis to re-examine Haiti's position and then make a decision on whether Haiti will sit. All of that happened with our informing the Americans."
Mr. Christie also said, "I told the Americans that it was the intention of the prime minister of Jamaica and the intention of the prime minister of The Bahamas to meet with President Aristide and to discuss his future and very clearly to impress upon our colleague that his future must change, that the plans for President of Haiti under all circumstances must change."