21 April 2011 – The United Nations envoy for Haiti has handed over to the president of the country’s senate a prefabricated building that will temporarily house the Parliament until the one destroyed by the earthquake in January last year is rebuilt.
Edmond Mulet, the Special Representative of the Secretary General for Haiti, handed the keys to the building – an initiative of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) – to the President of the Senate, Kelly Bastien, in the capital, Port-au-Prince, yesterday. The new facility will enable the new session of Parliament to reopen on 27 April.
The temporary parliament offices are made up of five air-conditioned units, including chambers for both houses of Parliament, offices for Government officials, rooms for parliamentary committees and offices for presidents of both houses. MINUSTAH allocated nearly $700,000 for the construction of the block.
Mr. Mulet urged the newly-elected members of Parliament to use their session productively and show commitment to strengthening the rule of law. He encouraged them to “be creative” and find solutions to Haiti’s economic, social and political problems, while helping to revitalize and modernize existing laws.
He called upon them to “exercise self-denial [as] demanded by the difficult circumstances” and act with a “sense of reconciliation so that beyond the differences, the common good of this nation, proud and courageous triumphs.”
Mr. Bastien thanked MINUSTAH for the initiative and praised the “effective support that the mission has provided to the Parliament.” The gesture was an indication that the mission’s tasks are not limited to providing security. The mission is also playing a role in capacity-building, he added.
“I want to thank the mission and the Special Representative of the Secretary General in Haiti for their dynamism and their constant willingness to help find solutions,” said Mr. Bastien.
Since 2007, MINUSTAH’s Parliament Support Unit of the Civil Affairs Section has provided technical assistance to facilitate Haiti’s legislative agenda and helped with logistical support in organizing conferences and training.