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Haiti : Strong points and difficulties during one year of Presidency

Translated by Menno Ernst

P-au-P, Sunday, May 13th 2007 [AlterPresse] --- The political stability, the security efforts of the country by dialogue and by force, macroeconomic performances, of which the reduction of inflation (dropped from 46% in 2004 to 8.5% in 2007), represent the strong points during the first year of management of the presidency, between 14th May 2006 and 14th May 2007, in spite of the administrative difficulties within the executive, affirms Haitian’s head of state, René Garcia Préval, in an attempt at assessment, this 13th May 2007, in front of the national press.

“We have taken a great step towards demolishing the gangs, but the particular acts of kidnapping by holders of firearms constitute another type of insecurity that he agrees upon to fight during the second year, especially by the struggle against drugs, which is a source of insecurity and instability’, announces Préval at the international airport of the capital, returned in the country after a trip of one week to North America and the Caribbean.

Without showing himself comprehensive, considering to have lost three months (his nomination took place on 14th of May, in stead of the 7th of February), Préval recalls that the set up of institutions not yet effective and the strengthening of existing ones were the objectives that have been pursued during his first year of management as head of the country, next to the political stabilization to encourage private investment (which includes peasants and small entrepreneurs), efforts to moralize public life, reflects the on-line agency AlterPresse the words of the president at his press conference.

The road infrastructure projects today are almost functioning at full capacity, hence the already launched public allocations for the purchase of busses and garbage trucks (the total number of waste trucks on the national territory amounts 75) in order to pursue the initiatives of restoration, like those recently implemented in the metropolitan area of Port-au-Prince.

But, he says, there have been problems, at least of the functioning of the executive, such as the existence of a limit of expenditures at the Ministry of Public Labour (who was the subject of a minimum of raising), the situation of ministers who have no experience with public administration, which explains why a lot of expenses foreseen in the budget of the current year have not been carried out so far.

No allusion has been made by Préval about the dissatisfaction of different sectors regarding an environment propitious to employment which has the objective to discourage the exodus of human resources towards other countries.

Mentioning that the prime Minister Jacques Edouard Alexis has attempted to ensure, the 1st May 2007 (the day of agriculture and labour), the goodwill of his government to act on employment during the coming months, without specifying neither the ways and means, nor the branches on which the impact will be observed.

« If we work too fast, the risk exists that accidents might happen and that we’ll fail. He also expresses the importance of first defining his own strategy, from objectives pursued and means at his disposal”, stated Preval on the 13th of May.

Préval, from his side, wanted to explain why he maintained in his function, during the last year (from May 14th 2006 to May 14th 2007), as well as his representatives and vice-representatives inside the country and the ambassadors outside the country, who were members of the previous administration of Boniface Alexandre and Gérard Latortue (the transition period between March 2004 and June 2006).

The political stability by information, of which the security and the dialogue with the parliament and the political parties (of which those represented at the parliament), the structures of territorial communities will be consolidated during the second year of management, indicates Préval.

As from half May 2007, following the complementary territorial elections, work sessions will take place among all the public committees of the country and the General Management of taxation, the account management, with a view to, amongst others, standardising the administrative reports of the territorial communities, in the chapter of justificative documents, market entrance, etc.

The National Constitution of 29th March 1987 has not foreseen the establishment of the public police. Meanwhile the evolving improvement of the strength of Haiti’s national police (PNH, from 5.000 in 2004 until almost 7.000 men in May 2007), interchanges will be developed in order to improve the general security’s framework, a mission developed at the PNH.

In June 2007, another group of policemen and -women rejoined the ranks of the national institution charged with the public security.
The struggle against corruption will also be a considered point of action, as well as the struggle against drugs, promises Préval, who will make a list of the appropriate approaches, in the coming weeks, by the Unity of the Struggle against Corruption (ULCC), the Central Unity of Financial Information (UCREF), the Committee on Public Accounts and the Law Department (CSCCA), the Ministries of Justice and Finances.

« In the case where a member of the trade sector, who has a large order of capital goods from abroad, announces a very low revenue, it will be opportune to ask some questions : is it representative for the fact that the trade sector is about to go bankrupt, or has it produced an under-declaration…”, notes Préval, underlining the obligation to come to an increase of customs revenues.

On the corruption file, a law project will be presented to Parliament in order to require the patrimony declaration (of goods), every year (so not just at the start and at the end of the seize of office), and not only from the President of the republic and the ministers, but also from the members of parliament. [rc apr May, 13 th 2007 14:45]