Haiti PM softens stance on Clinton quake panel
Port-au-Prince: The new Haitian government said late on Wednesday it wants to discuss ways to improve an earthquake reconstruction commission co-chaired by former US President Bill Clinton, backing off an earlier statement from the businessman nominated to be prime minister that the much-criticized commission should be scrapped.
The office of newly elected President Michel Martelly issued a statement insisting he and the prime minister nominee, Daniel-Gerard Rouzier, are "very open and willing to begin discussions" with Clinton and the international community about the commission to "make it more efficient" as its members seek to rebuild Haiti from the devastating 2010 earthquake.
Earlier, Rouzier told a news agency that the 27-member commission was "dysfunctional" and should be replaced by a government reconstruction agency.
"What I can tell you is that the (commission) as it exists today will not continue," Rouzier said in a videotaped interview with the agency. "I don`t mean to crucify the people who came up with the concept. But sometimes when something doesn`t work you have to fix it."
Rouzier, who has never before held public office, was nominated by Martelly to be prime minister. But he must be confirmed by the Senate, which is controlled by the opposition and where there is deep resentment over the foreign-controlled commission.
International donors insisted on the creation of the commission to manage the multibillion-dollar reconstruction after the earthquake because they wanted assurances that the process would be orderly and free of the corruption that has long plagued Haiti. But it has been criticized for slow progress. It includes representatives of the US government, France, Japan and other members of the international community that have contributed the most toward rebuilding Haiti.
In a news agecy interview, Rouzier did not provide details of his proposal for a new reconstruction agency. But he said it would be more responsive to the needs of the Haitian people and still accountable to international donors.
He said he hoped Clinton, a special UN envoy to Haiti who has made many trips to the country to preside over commission meetings, would remain active in reconstruction from the January 2010 earthquake, which the government says killed more than 300,000 people as it left much of the capital in ruins.
"When you have someone of Clinnton`s caliber — this is a man of tremendous vision ... we have to pick his brain and make sure that we have the right strategy," Rouzier said.
The former US president did not respond to requests for comment.
Commission spokeswoman Florence St-Leger Liautaud defended the panel`s record, issuing a statement saying it has approved 87 projects that are "already benefiting thousands of Haitian families." She said the commission will "continue to work, in close coordination with the Government of Haiti, donors, (aid groups) and the private sector ... until further decisions are made by the Haitian Government and Parliament."
Clinton has been co-chairman of the commission along with Jean-Max Bellerive, the outgoing Haitian prime minister. They have presided over long meetings to discuss the details of proposals to clear rubble, build housing and try to create jobs in a country that had severe problems long before the earthquake.
The commission has approved projects that would require $3.2 billion in funding but Haiti does not yet have all the money and many people have complained about the lack of apparent progress.
A recent report by the US Government Accountability Office criticized the commission for delays in hiring staff and a lack of transparency and for not meeting reconstruction goals.
The commission`s mandate is scheduled to end in October but it could be renewed by the Haitian government.
Rouzier, ran a family-owned car dealership in Haiti and was a power company executive before he was nominated to be prime minister by Martelly. His criticism of the commission plays into long-standing resentment of foreign influence in Haiti and could help in his confirmation vote.
Joseph Lambert, a senator and coordinator of the Unity political party, which has a majority in the Senate, predicted that Rouzier would likely be approved.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- I eat beef, can somebody stop me?: Kiren Rijiju hits back at Naqvi
- Delhi: Visually impaired boy scores 91.4% in CBSE 12th Board exams
- MP: 14-year-old boy works as bonded labour since 2009
- UP: Man chops off wife's nose, hair for dowry
- Zee Media Exclusive: The plight of yoga expert Tejaswi Sharma
- Woman denied flat in Mumbai for being a Muslim
- Heat ave continues in India, death toll climbs to over 1,400
- 4 Indians in Forbes' 100 most powerful women list
- Gujjar stir: HC asks Rajasthan govt to clear rail track, roads
- Megastar Amitabh Bachchan slapped with Rs 1 crore notice
- Kenyan lawyer offers to marry Barack Obama's daughter Malia
- Gujjar stir: HC asks Rajasthan govt to clear rail track, roads- Part II
- AIB: The 'Third Gender's right to dignity'
- Salman Khan accident files burnt in Mantralaya fire
- Maggi likely to face ban in India!
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 to be announced today
- Check mahresult.nic.in for MSBSHSE Maharashtra Class 12 HSC Result 2015
- CBSE Class 10 Board Result 2015 (cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in) postponed?
- Maharashtra MSBSHSE HSC Result 2015 on mahresult.nic.in
- I was misquoted, says Kiren Rijiju on 'beef' remark
- First look: Salman Khan steals thunder in `Bajrangi Bhaijaan`
- Check cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in for CBSE Class 10 Result 2015
- mahresult.nic.in updated with MSBSHSE Maharashtra HSC Class XII Result 2015
- Manmohan Singh defends himself on 2G charge, slams Modi govt for 'carbon copy' schemes
- CBSE Class 10 (Class X Board) Result 2015 on cbse.nic.in, cbseresults.nic.in at 2 pm
- Sonia Gandhi 'unconstitutional authority' during UPA: PM Narendra Modi
- Hours after attacking NDA govt, Manmohan Singh meets PM Narendra Modi
- Reservation stir: Five percent job quota to Gujjars unlikely, hints Rajasthan govt
- PMO website revamped, now send e-mail to PM Modi directly
- Death toll climbs to over 1400 as intense heatwave continues in India