Criticism from Haitian government marks CIRH meeting

Santo Domingo. The start of the fourth meeting of the Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti was marked by strong questioning and criticism from the Haitian ministers against their compatriot, CIRH executive director Gabriel Verelle, and of former United States President Bill Clinton, who was chairing the meeting.

They also questioned the workings of the CIRH and the way in which representatives of donor governments and multilateral bodies take decisions.

The first to voice criticism was James Patterson, president of Caricom and ex prime minister of Jamaica, who highlighted the fact that the projects for rebuilding Haiti had not yet started and he queried the way the details and execution of contracts and project concession processes were approved.

Meanwhile, Suze Percy Filippini, representing the Haitian executive branch, complained that members of her country's government within the CIRH had been excluded from the decision making process, that they are not kept informed, and that during the last meeting, held in New York, they were neither assigned seats nor provided with accommodation.

Jean Marie Bourjelly, another member of the Haitian administration, lashed out at the CIRH president, saying that in six months Clinton had not replied to messages from Haitian delegates asking him for information.

He said that CIRH members who are not from Haiti have access to information that they do not and that the secretary - Gabriel Verelle - does not reply to messages either.

In response to the tough questioning he faced, Clinton informed that following last August's meeting projects worth more than US$2.6 billion had been approved, which are helping more than a million Haitians.

He assured that the beneficiaries included 250,000 children, through the donation of schoolbooks, 30,000 girls and 40,000 women victims of violence who are receiving medical support.

As this edition went to press, they were still discussing the points of the Strategic Reconstruction Plan that will be in place until October 2011.

At the start of the meeting, President Leonel Fernandez stated that the three main challenges Haiti faces are political stabilization, cholera, and economic development.

"But I think that with the best efforts by all concerned and the cooperation of the Haitian and Dominican people, we can defy all these huge challenges", said the President, while addressing the meeting of the Interim Commission for the Reconstruction of Haiti (CIRH), chaired by ex-President Clinton.

Fernandez said that in order to improve the political situation, it is essential that the results of the country's election should be legitimate and legitimized, and they should also have the support of the Haitian people as well as of the international community.

"It is also important, of course, to deal with the health challenge that Haiti currently has to confront in the shape of cholera, which is also spreading, albeit in a controlled manner, in the Dominican Republic", he stated.
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