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Haiti - IHRC : Opacity of the commission and marginalization of Haitians
31/12/2010 14:22:38

Haiti - IHRC : Opacity of the commission and marginalization of Haitians
The Interim Haiti Recovery Commission (IHRC), had during its creation, affirmed that the Haitian people would been informed in a transparent way of the reconstruction projects approved. In fact, we are obliged to note that the IHRC, work in the opacity and that the transparency in the information is not a priority.

At the fourth meeting of its Board of Directors held on December 14 in Santo Domingo in the Dominican Republic, the IHRC has announced the approval of a new series of projects.

  • The Council of the IHRC, approved in plenary 6 new projects (1)
  • The Executive Committee approved (outside meetings) 12 projects between 1 million and $ 10 million (2)
  • The Executive Director approved 7 projects of 1 million dollars or less (3)

All of these projects is based on official information from the IHRC, totaling 429.8 million dollars. However, the study of available data highlights a number of inconsistencies and the approval of funds for projects nonexistent...

(1) - Approved by the Council of IHRC in session of 6 new projects:

1- Project of the United States (124 million) and the Interamerican Development Bank - IDB (50 million) for a total of $174 million for a 150-hectare industrial park in the region north of the country globally competitive. In Phase 1 (2012-2014), this project will host about 18,000 workers in the garment industry, reaching 65.000 permanent jobs when the park is fully operational. This park will be owned by the GOH and will be operated by a partnership of private sector management.

2- A $53.3 million project from USAID to finance new contractor-built communities in the Cap-Haïtien Development Corridor (CHDC) (5 000 units in various sites) and the Port-au-Prince Development Corridor (PPCD) (10 000 units in sites in Croix-des-Bouquets, Cité Soleil and Cabaret).

3- A $25 million project from USAID for building demolition & debris removal in specific Port-au-Prince neighborhoods, including Nazon, Christ-Roi, Ravine Pintade, Haut Turgeau and others to be determined. This project will incorporate the use of heavy equipment to augment efforts and speed up the relocation of IDPs.

4- A $22 million project from Canada for the creation, with the help of the Haitian ministry of Agriculture, of a guarantee fund and insurance system for agriculture.

5- A $10 million World Bank project which will provide technical assistance to the GOH for combating the cholera epidemic by supporting immediate cholera response activities, providing immediate access to basic health services for affected populations and vulnerable groups, increasing health promotion and hygiene awareness and improving access to clean water and sanitation.

6- A $10 million project from USA for rehabilitation and reintegration of persons with disabilities while building the capacity of governmental and non-governmental institutions to sustainably and effectively support persons with disabilities in the future.

(2) - 12 projects approved (outside meetings) between 1 million and $10 million, approved by the Executive Committee:

1- A $2.5 million educational campus project from ProDev in the Village Renaissance in Zoranje (Croix-des-Bouquets) that is designed to be replicated in key locations of the country. This complex will include : school from kindergarten to 4th for up to 480 students; a middle school for 500 students; a vocational school offering various curriculums, such as agriculture and IT; a Cultural center and a Community center with a cyber café and a library.

2- A $2.0 million job creation project from World Bank that will socially and economically empower Haitian adolescent girls and young women (15-24 years) through cash grants/stipends integrated with models of skills development in order to increase their employability and their earning potential in the future. The goal of the project is to reach at least 3 000 adolescents girls and young women.

Only these two projects were released, despite repeated requests to the IHRC, it has been impossible so far to obtain details of 10 additional projects and their costs ...

(3) - 7 projects of $ 1 million or less were approved by the Executive Director:

Despite repeated requests to the IHRC, it has been impossible so far to obtain details of these seven projects and their costs...

ghosts projects and millions in the wild...

Based on official information, the total amount of identified projects totaled $298 million on the 429.8 million approved. This remains a total of 131.8 million of dollars which should match the 10 projects approved by the Executive Committee and seven other approved by the Executive Director. Assuming that the 10 unknown projects represent a total of 100 million (probably less since this are project between 1 and 10 million) and the 7 projects approved by the Executive Director to 7 million (probably less since this are project under 1 million), the total of these 17 projects represent more than
$107 million, which leaves a difference of at least 24.8 million of dollars approved, which do not correspond to any project !

These millions in the nature and the impossibility of knowing what these projects, reflect more the opacity that the transparency initially promised by the IHRC.

Marginalization of Haitians at the Council of the IHRC:

The 12 Haitian members who sit on the committee complained of being systematically marginalized in the decision process. They receive no follow-up information on the activities of the IHRC, or any document preparatory at meetings, which does not allow them to study the records, to understand them and even less to question or to make intelligent answers. In other hand, the members tell us that the selection of consultants is done without their knowledge and that changes in procedures or formalities for the projects change are made without notice.

Given this situation they have written to the Chief Executive to explain how both sides of the commission should work together, but this approach has been followed by no response or change. In summary, the Haitians on the council of the IHRC are relegated to the extras, their roles are limited to the approval of decisions taken by the Director and the Executive Committee.

Although that each Haitian members who sits on the board, has a right to vote, it is likely that before the foreign members representing donors, no haitian representative one wants to be stigmatized and held responsible before the people for blocking a rebuilding project...

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