PORT-AU-PRINCE: The United Nations has urged Haiti’s president Michel Martelly, his government, politicians, civil society groups and citizens to enter a social, economic and political pact to “rebuild together a new Haiti”.
The new Haiti, the UN peacekeeping mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH) said, would be a country that “fully respects democratic values and human rights (and) which is proud of its entire human and cultural richness”.
Martelly, a former musician, was inaugurated as President in a ceremony in the capital on Saturday, succeeding René Préval.
MINUSTAH said the day was a historic one and carried with it “all the hopes of change for the people of Haiti: hopes for reconstruction, progress, stability, social peace, rule of law (and) development”.
In his inauguration speech, Martelly promised to rebuild the country and give it a new image.
“Haitians, this country is ours, let us gather to remake our country…It is necessary to have respect, so that investors gain confidence, come to invest, build, so that we can find the development that I seek, so that you get out of poverty, so you can live another way,” he said.
Martelly said the country also had to stop using poverty as a crutch, stressing that Haiti cannot continue with the humiliation of having to beg for help.
“This must stop. It is time to start selling our cultural riches. Haiti is a rich country, we have the most beautiful beaches in the world, the most beautiful sun of the Caribbean and the deepest culture, diverse and authentic, a glorious past. The Citadelle Henry and the ruins of the Palais of Milot testify (to) it.
“Yes, Haitian people, this is not just poverty we have in our country…let us take this opportunity to ask the whole world to put the misery of Haiti in a drawer, to bury the misery of Haiti,” he said.
“For those who think that Haiti is only Port-au-Prince, the centralization will come, this is not only in Port-au-Prince which must be rebuilt, it’s all the country that needs to be built, rebuilt, which needs to be developed…A Haiti where land will be tilled, where seeds are available, where crops will not be wasted, where crops are profitable, the land will not be ungrateful, because men will take care of it…A Haiti where the slum aren’t the cities, where the Haitian people will find water, electricity, services so that this country can be called a country. A Haiti where we will give people the means of birth control, where health is not a luxury.”
The new president promised free and mandatory education for children as one of the measures to get Haiti out of its misery.
Martelly also assured those living in tents since last year’s earthquake, others living on the streets, unemployed persons, the disabled, women, and others who have experienced the poverty in Haiti that “things will really change”.
He further called on the international community to have confidence in him.