Haiti's interim government
Although we were led to believe that the interim government would be broad-based and inclusive, it does appear to represent rather a narrow sector of society.
Interim Prime Minister, Gerard Latortue, has said that his Cabinet does not include any representatives of political parties, implying that the Lavalas Family Party has not been discriminated against. However, we are obliged to point out that interim Foreign Affairs Minister, Yvon Simeon, was the Democratic Convergence's representative in Europe.
We also note that the interim Minister of Justice, Bernard Gousse, is described by Radio Metropole as an active member of the Group of 184.
Perhaps our greatest concern surrounds the nomination of ex-General Herard Abraham, the former head of the Armed Forces of Haiti, as interim Minister of the Interior. Abraham has already publicly declared his position in favour of the re-instatement of the Haitian Army.
In addition, without wishing to prejudge those nominated, who may perform their tasks in an admirable fashion, the Haiti Support Group notes a preponderance of individuals with close ties with international organisations. While this experience may be useful at a time when increased foreign aid is expected, we should point out that the United Nations and its Bretton Woods Institutions have been very active in Haiti for many decades without making any discernible progress with the country's social or economic development. We note that interim Prime Minister, Gerard Latortue, worked for UNIDO from 1972-1994, that interim Minister of Finance, Henri Bazin, has worked as UN consultant, that interim Minister of Health, Josette Bijoux, has worked for the World Health Organisation, and that since August 2003, interim Minister of Commerce, Danielle St. Lot has been Director of Training for the controversial USAID-funded, community radio development programme, RAMAK.
Finally, we note that three existing ministries - Environment, Haitians Living Abroad, and Culture - have been downgraded to secretaries of state, and we are concerned that this means these three areas will not be accorded the importance, or budgetary support, that they require. While there may be a case for cuts in public expenditure, we would insist that these arguments are better put to those proposing the re-instatement of the Haitian Army.