By Jacqueline Charles
The push to remove Haitian Prime Minister Laurent could erase the gains Haiti has made in the last four years, former President Bill Clinton said Thursday in an exclusive interview with the Miami Herald.
“He’s done a really good job,” Clinton said on the margins of his one-day Future of the Americas summit at the University of Miami. “The one thing that Haiti doesn’t want to get out of this process is looking like ‘Ok, we had four great years, we were growing like crazy so you think we’ll throw it all away and go back to the old ways. It won’t be good for the country.’ ”
Clinton, who served as U.N. Special Envoy for Haiti after the country’s devastating Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake, is the most prominent person yet to weigh in on a series of far-reaching recommendations by a Haitian presidential commission calling for the resignations of Lamothe and other key government appointees, including members of the provisional electoral council, to ease rising political tensions in Haiti.
The commission, made up of 11 respected members of Haitian society and appointed by President Michel Martelly, released their recommendations this week. Martelly is expected to address the nation on Friday about whether he will fire Lamothe, his friend and confidante.
“No experience I’ve ever had in Haiti has been free of political complications; it’s a complicated country,” Clinton said, turning his attention to Lamothe, who became prime minister in May 2012.
“This is the most consistent and decisive government I’ve ever worked with across a broad range of issues. And I think if you look at the sheer volume of investments they’ve attracted, everything from hotels to clean energy to healthcare, you have to ask yourself, ‘Why is this being done?’ ” he added.
Lamothe supporters say he’s the target of special interests groups who don’t take kindly to his going after major drug traffickers.
“He has never been part of the problem and will always be part of the solution,” Lamothe’s spokesman Michel Brunache told the Herald.
Opponents, however, disagree, saying Lamothe has not running a tight financial ship. They say him and Martelly have intentionally delayed elections to allow Martelly to rule by decree in January, easing Lamothe’s expected presidential bid.
Clinton said Lamothe’s political fate isn’t up to him. But if he were the one making a decision, Clinton said, he would do it “in a way that would keep the doors to Haiti open and keep people wanting to be part of Haiti’s future.”
“They have to realize that the trust of other people, the support of other people and the involvement of other people is not a limitless commodity that is immune to what happens there,” he said. “We’ve gone through several governments, several incarnations. I’ve seen some changes happen, some I agreed with, some I disagreed with. But after every one, you could still see a path forward to build a country.”