P.J. Patterson urges support for Haitian government

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti: CARICOM envoy to Haiti, P.J. Patterson, has cautioned the international community about the growing dangers associated with delays in relief efforts following the earthquake that devastated the country in January.

“The implicit truce that followed the catastrophe has dissipated and there are forces that will actively exploit the grievances resulting from the delays which have occurred,” Patterson said at the World Summit on the Future of Haiti.

“Unless there is decisive action and evident momentum, we face the threat of a pervasive and paralyzing crisis which would imperil the social, economic and institutional recovery of Haiti, thereby also preventing a smooth democratic transition.”

The former Jamaican prime minister called for support for the Haitian government from the international community and pointed to several reasons for that support to be forthcoming. Among those were the continuance of Haiti’s constitutional legitimacy; the strong political support of the regional and international community; the government-led effort to develop an Action Plan and endorsed mechanisms to implement it for the redevelopment of Haiti; and the government’s garnering of major resources pledged by the international donor community in the rebuilding effort.

Patterson also offered suggestions on how Haiti could ensure a successful continuation of relief.

“In order to leverage its advantages, the government of Haiti needs to move strategically, expeditiously and simultaneously on a number of inter-related fronts – humanitarian, political, electoral and reconstruction.

“It cannot, however, do so in the absence of an adequate institutional capacity which will enable it, in partnership with the international donor community and multilateral agencies, to discharge its central role in realizing the country’s long-term vision for development as reflected in the Action Plan,” he said.

The CARICOM envoy contended that humanitarian relief, human security, reconstruction progress, democratic transition and political stability were intertwined issues and must be tackled simultaneously.

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