OAS Assistant Secretary General Reaffirms the Organization’s Commitment with Haiti

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The Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Albert Ramdin, today reported to the Permanent Council of the Organization on his recent visit to Haiti, and reaffirmed the commitment of the organization with the people and government of Haiti. In his report on OAS activities in that member country and perspectives towards the future, Ambassador Ramdin recalled that peace and stability in Haiti have been until now the priorities in cooperation with the Caribbean country and that in the future the Organization will continue to work with government authorities to pursue development and growth of the Haitian people and institutions.

The Assistant Secretary General traveled to Haiti last week to Port-au-Prince, where he met with President Michel Martelly, Prime Minister Garry Conille, representatives of MINUSTAH and other high-level authorities. “There seems to be a positive dynamic in Haiti in terms of planning towards the future,” he said before the Permanent Council. “The Haitian government and willing partners are taking advantage of various investment opportunities, new initiatives are being explored, and new markets are being sought. Also, Haitian citizens are taking advantage of scholarship opportunities and training programs with renewed vigor,” he added.

Nevertheless, there is still much to be done, said Ambassador Ramdin, indicating that two years after the devastating earthquake of 2010 there is still half a million people living in tent cities who “continue to be vulnerable to the elements and to illnesses such as cholera.”

He highlighted the “real need to improve the method of coordination and execution” between donors and non-governmental organizations, since it is estimated there are between 3,000 and 10,000 organizations that conduct diverse projects in the country, of which only three hundred are officially registered. “There is no comprehensive plan between these groups,” said Ramdin.

Regarding the work of the OAS, the Assistant Secretary General asserted that the Organization “has found a real interest in the development and strengthening of Haitian institutions and their capacities.” Among the ongoing projects he mentioned the civil registry, which has provided identification cards to nearly five million Haitians; the scholarship program, which offers new opportunities for education; the youth orchestra program, which has benefitted 150 youths; and the computers for communities and schools program, which has benefitted more than 600 children in 48 schools, among others.

The Permanent Representative of Haiti to the OAS, Ambassador Duly Brutus, who assumed the chairmanship of the Permanent Council, recalled the initiatives conducted by the OAS in his country under the guidance of the Haitian government and expressed the gratefulness of his government for the work conducted by the Assistant Secretary General as Chair of the Group of Friends of Haiti.

The Deputy Ambassador of Haiti to the OAS, Bocchit Edmond, thanked Ambassador Ramdin for the visit to his country, which “fits within the framework of strengthening the ties of cooperation between Haiti and the OAS,” and thanked Secretary General José Miguel Insulza for the recent appointment of Frédéric Bolduc, of Canada, as new representative of the OAS to the Caribbean country.

“There is no doubt that the level and importance of cooperation between the OAS and my country represent the irrefutable testimony of the need to continue to strengthen the objectives of the Organization,” he said, recalling for example that the program of civil registry modernization has benefitted more than four million adults. Finally, he reaffirmed the will of President Michel Martelly to “continue working for the strengthening of democratic institutions with the different sectors of the country,” and he expressed his conviction that “the OAS will contribute as it always has with its own influence to this process.”

On this subject, the following delegations took the floor: Trinidad and Tobago, United States, Canada, Suriname, Dominican Republic, and Nicaragua.

A gallery of photos of the event is available here.

For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.