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Defence Force Commodore named as special envoy to Haiti

Nassau, Bahamas -- Defence Force Commodore Clifford Scavella has been named as Prime Minister the Rt Hon Hubert Ingraham's special envoy to Haiti. The Prime Minister made this announcement at a Press Conference called by the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Sunday, January 17. Commodore Scavella retires as head of the Royal Bahamas Defence Force, Thursday, January 21.

The Prime Minister said sometime this week Commodore Scavella will visit Haiti to undertake an assessment of the damages as a result of a 7.0 earthquake that hit Port au Prince, Tuesday, January 12.

He noted that the results of the assessment would be taken into consideration in the responses The Bahamas proposes to make regarding the crisis in Haiti.

Prime Minister the Rt Hon Hubert A Ingraham has announced also that he will attend an emergency meeting in Santo Domingo, Monday, January 18 to discuss coordination of medium and long-term assistance to Haiti following a 7.0 earthquake that struck Port au Prince on Tuesday, January 12.

Accompanying Prime Minister Ingraham will be National Security Minister the Hon Tommy Turnquest; Director of the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA), Captain Stephen Russell and Senior Policy Adviser in the Office of the Prime Minister, Teresa Butler.

The Prime Minister informed members of the media during a press conference at NEMA headquarters in the Churchill Building that President Preval of Haiti, the Prime Ministers of Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Dominica have been invited to the meeting.

Also invited to Santo Domingo are senior representatives of the Spanish government, the Ambassadors of the United States, Canada and France resident in Santo Domingo and the Secretary General of CARICOM.

The Bahamas is coordinating its response with other CARICOM member states and CDEMA, the disaster emergency management agency for the region.

Regarding Haitian nationals awaiting release at the Detention Centre, the Prime Minister said taking into consideration that Haiti has been devastated by the "worst" catastrophe in 200 years, "it is simply impossible to send undocumented Haitian nationals back to their homeland."

Furthermore, "A Bahamian aircraft attempting to take undocumented Haitians into that situation or indeed into the smaller Haitian airport in Cape Haitien would most certainly be turned back and we would earn the scorn and condemnation of the civilized world.

"No one knows how long it will be before Haiti is restored to some semblance of normalcy and when repatriation flights from The Bahamas and other places will again be able to land and be processed in Port-au-Prince. So it makes sense and it is compassionate not to keep them incarcerated indefinitely," the Prime Minister said.