Haitian Prime Minister promises OAS presidential elections “as soon as possible” – 20/08/2021 – World

Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry promised this Friday (20) to hold elections “as soon as possible”, despite the devastation caused by the recent earthquake which left more than 2,000 dead, in a country still shaken by the assassination of its president, in July. .

During a remote special session of the Permanent Council of the Organization of American States (OAS) on Haiti, Henry acknowledged that the international community is concerned about the “chronic” political instability in this Caribbean country, “made worse by the infamous murder ”of Jovenel Moise on July 7.

“I am committed to do what I can to put my country back on the rails of a functioning democracy, by organizing free and fair elections as soon as possible,” said Henry, who took office on July 20, after to have been appointed by Moses.

The Prime Minister acknowledged that the current electoral process had been interrupted by the earthquake, “which mobilized all energies”, but guaranteed that it would resume “as soon as possible”. However, he did not specify a date.

Last week, before the earthquake, the provisional electoral council indicated that the first round of the presidential election, initially scheduled for September, would take place on November 7. For the same day, legislative elections are also scheduled, which should have been held in 2019, and a constitutional referendum supported by Moise, postponed twice due to the pandemic.

Moise, assassinated at his home by an armed command, ruled by decree after the postponement of the 2018 parliamentary elections and disputes erupted over whether his term should end in February 2021 or 2022.

The Prime Minister thanked the international community for its solidarity following the earthquake on Saturday, which devastated the southwest of the country. There were more than 2,200 dead, 53,000 houses completely destroyed and 77,000 others damaged in the disaster.

“The challenge is great and at this time we will need all of your support,” he said, noting that the hurricane season is not yet over and the pandemic continues to infect and kill people. Haitians.

The United States sent eight Honduran army helicopters to support the effort to evacuate the most seriously injured to specialized hospitals in the Haitian capital.

A field hospital will also be installed by the US military in the city of Les Cayes, which suffered the most human and material damage from the earthquake.

The USS Arlington, a US Navy transport vessel, and a British ship will be deployed to facilitate helicopter operations.

The European Union has, in turn, mobilized 3 million euros, excluding contributions from member countries, including a water treatment module in France and a Spanish wastewater treatment plant.

“Republic of NGOs”

Henry said that, in order not to repeat the mistakes in handling the 2010 humanitarian crisis, when an earthquake killed more than 200,000 people across the country, coordination of the response at this time will focus on the Haitian Civil Protection Directorate.

“To ensure full transparency in the management of aid, I have created an ad hoc working group,” he said.

The priority of the authorities and aid workers is to avoid the concentration of people in large informal settlements.

“In order not to repeat the mistakes of 2010, there will be no distribution of tents, no creation of camps. We will adopt strategies that will allow people to repair, rebuild their houses,” said Federica Cecchet, coordinator of the International Organization for Migration. (IOM) in Haiti.

In addition to food, water and medical aid, plastic sheeting, wooden planks and nails are being trucked from the capital, Port-au-Prince, to the affected areas, said. Thursday Haitian Civil Protection.

To better manage resources, IOM has set up a platform where non-food donations that are used for the construction of shelters are registered: only humanitarian workers registered by the Haitian government will be able to access it and will have to donate details of distribution operations to who will do the job.

During the earthquake that followed 2010, the controlled interventions of foreign groups reinforced Haiti’s nickname of “Republic of NGOs”.

Some affected people living in the most remote areas have been ignored by aid workers, and many have acted without accountability to national authorities, unable to respond to the emergency in the face of the death of several officials in the earthquake that destroyed almost all ministries and administrations. buildings.

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