GEORGETOWN, Guyana, Monday January 15, 2018 – The Caribbean Community (CARICOM) says it is “deeply disturbed” about US President Donald Trump’s use of derogatory and repulsive language in reference to one of its member states, Haiti, and other developing countries.
Trump reportedly referred to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “shithole countries” during a White House meeting with lawmakers on immigration reform last Thursday – a day before the eight-year anniversary of the 7.0 magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti –questioning why he should accept immigrants from those places, rather than from countries like Norway.
Haiti immediately issued a statement condemning the comments as racist, insulting, reprehensible and disrespectful.
CARICOM not only condemned Trump’s reported comments and said it viewed “this insult to the character of the countries named and their citizens as totally unacceptable”, but the regional grouping also expressed concern about a “pattern of denigrating Haiti and its citizens in what seems to be a concerted attempt to perpetuate a negative narrative of the country”.
“We are especially saddened that such narrative emerged around the time of the anniversary of the devastating 2010 earthquake which took so many lives of citizens in that country,” it said in a statement issued on Saturday.
“The Caribbean Community expresses its full support for the dignified statement of the Government of the Republic of Haiti in reaction to this highly offensive reference.”
CARICOM also reminded that Haiti is the second democracy in the Western Hemisphere after the United States and that Haitians continue to contribute significantly in many spheres to the global community and particularly to the US.
Trump has not only denied making the statements that sparked a firestorm, but over the weekend insisted that he is not racist. In fact, he told journalists who were pressing him on the issue that he is “the least racist person you have ever interviewed”.