WASHINGTON – An invitation has been extended to US President Donald Trump to visit Haiti following reports that he made a derogatory comment about the French-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member state.
The invitation came from Haiti’s ambassador to the US, Paul Altidor, who was speaking with CNN last week.
According to Altidor, the words reportedly said by the president were an insult to Haiti’s dignity.
“The words, they did hurt the community, they did hurt the country of Haiti…..it hurt because one, it’s an insult to our dignity but more importantly it’s because too much of Haiti is misunderstood,” said Altidor.
The Haitian ambassador, in issuing the invitation, said it “doesn’t excuse an apology for what was said” and that “such words shouldn’t be coming out of anybody’s mouth, let alone the President of the United States.”
During a recent White House meeting with lawmakers on immigration reform, Trump reportedly referred to Haiti, El Salvador and African nations as “shithole countries,” questioning why he should accept immigrants from those places, rather than from countries like Norway
However, Trump later tweeted that he “never said anything derogatory about Haitians, other than Haiti is, obviously a very poor and troubled country.”
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister of St. Lucia, Allen Chastanet, has also weighed in on the issue.
Chastanet told reporters in St. Lucia that Trump’s statements were ‘very unfortunate’.
“If anything, I think that maybe the African Union’s response which asked for an apology would have been appropriate,’ Chastanet declared. ‘I think there are two sides to take, one obviously from an international perspective that it’s just insulting, and particularly when you think of what Haitians and Haiti have gone through, and the need for our assistance,” he said.
According to Chastanet, Haitians are still trying to recover from a devastating earthquake and Hurricane Matthew one year ago. “If anything, they need our sympathy not that level of criticism,’ Chastanet told reporters.
He said that the world is becoming very unsympathetic. “We need to know that we need to get our own act together and we have to do more in order to progress our own development plans and make sure that we are viable countries,” he said.