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Haiti - Reconstruction : Canada freezes funds for Haiti, Confusion and Reactions...
05/01/2013 11:12:08

Haiti - Reconstruction : Canada freezes funds for Haiti, Confusion and Reactions...
Julian Fantino, Canada's Minister of International Cooperation, who visited Haiti for the first time last November http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-7250-haiti-reconstruction-the-haitian-government-is-accountable-to-canada.html told The Canadian Press (La Presse), that the envelope of a few hundred million dollars from the Canadian International Development Agency (CIDA), for new projects in Haiti was frozen "[...] It's on ice right now [...] We continue to fund some programs [...] But there is no new initiatives at this time. And we are thinking to what should be the next step..."

An announcement that occurs a few days after that Canada has not recommended to its nationals to visit Jérémie, in the South of Haiti http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-7317-haiti-canada-warning-for-canadian-travellers-going-to-jeremie.html

"The fact is, Haiti is still in bad shape, if we're going on the other side, in the Dominican Republic, things are much better. Are we continue to do the same thing in the same way in Haiti ? I do not think ! Because we do not get the progress to which Canadians are entitled to expect [...] Take the situation of waste, for example. The unemployment rate is very high in Haiti. There are hundreds of thousands of men and women who could very capable to get involved and clean. There is garbage everywhere !" said the Canadian Minister.

In the wake of these statements, CIDA issued a brief statement, which adds some confusion : "CIDA will continue to provide assistance to Haiti in response to their needs [...] We also continue to make progress in areas where we are committed to make long-term development..."

François Audet, Director of the Canadian Observatory on the humanitarian crisis, sees a tone unusually severe, in the words of the Canadian Minister of Cooperation, in respect of a country under reconstruction "I am both surprised and amazed [...] If this rhetoric then turns into action, it would be a little sad about what has been done."

Within the NGO sector, many wonder to what might look like such a turn for Haiti...

Friday, Michaëlle Jean, UNESCO Special Envoy for Haiti, said she hoped that this ecision to freeze funds for new projects in Haiti, is temporary "Often, when we talk to freeze funds, it is a time of reflection [...] From the depths of my heart, I hope that is what it means [...] I do not think that one wish to break a relationship as important as that between Canada and Haiti."

Ms. Jean states that it is very offensive for the Haitian people to hear comments on the condition of their country. "It is true that we can mobilize the population around waste collection. Once the collection is done, how will we manage waste disposal sites ? It is an expertise, a Canadian expertise among other [...] You think it's fun to live with these wastes ? No, it is no fun [...]"

Frantz Liautaud, the Ambassador of Haiti to Canada was surprised that the Conservative government froze funding for new aid projects in Haiti. Stating that he had been informed of this decision in the Montreal press.

Ambassador Liautaud said he tried to contact the office of Minister Fantino, for confirmation of this decision, and he was still waiting for an answer... Recalling that he had been briefed last July that the federal government was currently reviewing its programming for Haiti in order to find better ways to help the country.

He said he was troubled by this decision, given, that the review has been underway for seven months and that the freezing of Canadian support, could create further instability in Haiti, adding that the statements of Minister Fantino are inconsistent with those he held with the Haitian President Michel Martelly on his first visit to Haiti "That is an unfair statement to say the least."

In Haiti, it is the indignation, Marie Carmelle Jean-Marie, Haiti's Minister of Economy and Finance has reacted strongly "[...] I do not have a gourde of the Canadian government, in my budget, either as budget support or as projects funded by donations. Indeed, CIDA supports some technical assistance for Haiti. But these assistances are provided by Canadian firms ; no Haitian firm benefits from [...] is it udge [Canada] that CIDA funds are poorly managed, it has nothing to do the Haitian State. They should initiate their own audit on firms from home [Canada], working in Haiti...."

Pierre-Richard Casimir, the Foreign Minister of Haiti clarified Thursday evening that "We did not have this information yet, nor officially or unofficially [...] As soon received this information, I will analyze it. There must be an official document on that, I do not have it yet. But I'll see informations, to know what is the situation, and what are the reasons for this decision [...]" recalling surprised that during the visit of Minister Fantino in Haiti he had expressed his satisfaction at his meeting with the President Martelly "we had agreed on the need to move forward on a number of things..." http://www.haitilibre.com/en/news-7259-haiti-canada-meeting-martelly-fantino-towards-the-strengthening-of-cooperation.html

HL/ S/ TB/ HaitiLibre

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