CARICOM's bid to rescue Haiti from anarchy has been effectively sidelined by the realities of Big Power politics. In the wake of Aristide's departure, the heads of the 15-nation regional grouping may well feel miffed that its own initiatives have had to give way to the international troops now restoring order in Port-au-Prince and elsewhere.
The seeming initial reluctance of the United States in particular has now been reversed with Aristide in African exile; an indication that the Haitian leader has lost favour with Washington which had restored him to power in 1994 after he had been ousted in a military coup.
CARICOM is thus left to pursue its own contention that the circumstances of the Aristide departure warrant United Nations enquiry. That is now the main aim of the regional grouping after what may be seen as an inauspicious foray into the world of international diplomacy.
The inherent difficulty of operating as a regional association of small independent nations has obviously hampered the speed of response to cope with the unravelling of the Aristide administration. Hence the protracted conferencing which tends to reinforce the talk-shop label acquired over these many years of CARICOM meetings.
The grouping has even refrained from offering its own military contribution to the peacekeeping now being undertaken by American Marines, French soldiers and gendarmes, Canadian and Chilean military personnel.
Some measure of support on the diplomatic front was reported from Johannesburg yesterday. The South African Foreign Minister said an enquiry would be warranted if Aristide had been ousted by force, as that would have "serious consequences and ramifications for the respect of the rule of law and democracy the world over."
It seems to us that trying to get an enquiry launched faces two main hurdles: getting such a process organised in the first place; and if that happens how to enforce whatever verdict is arrived at.
That improbable objective aside, CARICOM will ultimately have to face up to what will happen when a new administration is installed in Port-au-Prince and whether it will ultimately play a role in that process to ensure the future and democratic development of its most crisis-ridden member-state.
THE OPINIONS ON THIS PAGE, EXCEPT FOR THE ABOVE, DO NOT NECESSARILY REFLECT THE VIEWS OF THE GLEANER.