Governance critical to the new Haiti says PJ Patterson

Former Prime Minister PJ Patterson

(CARICOM Secretariat, Turkeyen, Greater Georgetown, Guyana)…March 19, 2010 – The Special Representative of the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) the Most Honourable Percival Patterson singled out the area of Governance when he addressed the two-day Technical Preparatory Meeting on the Reconstruction of Haiti in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic on 16-17 March 2010.

Mr Patterson emphasized that Governance underpinned the entire process of the “renaissance of Haiti”. He said the Government of Haiti had to play the lead role in the shaping and implementation of its vision for a new Haiti. It would therefore need, he added, its institutional capacity to be strengthened in order to ensure transparency and accountability in the use of the resources made available to it and to establish the policy, legal and regulatory frameworks which would facilitate and oversee the operations of the private and non-governmental sectors.

The CARICOM delegation, led by Mr Patterson, included the Community’s Assistant Secretary-General Foreign and Community Relations, Ambassador Colin Granderson and was among 28 delegations that participated in the meeting. The session was part of the process which would culminate with a pledging conference convened by the United States and the United Nations on 31 March 2010 in New York, USA.

The Santo Domingo meeting considered a draft Post Disaster Needs Assessment Report which was presented by the Government of Haiti and prepared with the assistance of the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) among other international agencies.

In the report, Haiti estimated that it would need $11.5 billion (US) to rebuild and to develop the country following the devastating earthquake of 12 January 2010. Fifty per cent of the estimated resources would go to social programmes, 17 percent to infrastructure and 15 per cent to the environment and disaster management. Losses from the earthquake are estimated at $7.9 billion (US) which represents 120 per cent of Haitian GDP.

The draft report lays out the vision of the Haitian Government for a new Haiti. Emphasis is placed on decentralization to lessen the present over-concentration of government, economic and other activities as well as people in the capital, on re-energizing the agriculture sector to address food security, and on a new sense of the state and of government.

Mr Patterson pointed out that, “everything must be done to ensure that the Government of Haiti has the capacity to sustain what has been achieved so that we can look back and say that the disaster was a turning point to return Haiti to the forefront of achieving countries, a point it had attained in 1804 when it liberated itself from slavery”.

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