Haitian PM says country making significant strides

WASHINGTON, United States, March 31, 2008 – Haiti’s Prime Minister has reported that the general situation in his country has “significantly improved”.

Addressing a special session of the Organisation of American States (OAS) Permanent Council called in his honour, Jacques-Édouard Alexis touted his government’s initiatives to reform the police force and the justice system, “with special emphasis on training, professionalisation, discipline and development of a police force that works closely with the community”. 

He told member state ambassadors, observers and representatives of other international organisations attending the session that all the provisions were in place to ensure partial elections are held to “renew” one third of the Senate.

Mr Alexis also pointed out other areas of notable progress in Haiti including initiatives on gender equality and marginalisation of persons with disability. 

The Haitian Prime Minister also took the opportunity to defend his country against what he said were false claims from certain quarters that Haiti was “wracked by instability and descending into chaos and anarchy”.

He called on OAS member states to help dispel this notion which he said was potentially damaging to the future of Haiti’s fragile democracy.

Thanking the OAS for its ongoing support on a wide array of programmes, Mr Alexis also lauded the “remarkable work” by the police force, in collaboration with United Nations Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), leading to an overall improvement in security and socio-political stability.

He however pointed to some challenges which his government faced, including job-creation through large-scale investment.

According to him, the government was pressing on despite the difficulties and had recently adopted a document that sets out the strategic framework for growth and poverty reduction.

OAS Secretary General José Miguel Insulza praised the economic and social development which Alexis’ government had implemented despite enormous challenges.

“Today, Haiti has a solid, legitimate government and institutions that work,” he said, noting improvements in the judicial system and in the country’s public security climate.