Haiti’s PM nominee would replace earthquake panel

Dieu Nalio Chery A woman gathers her belongings after being evicted from a camp for those displaced by the 2010 earthquake in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wednesday, May 25, 2011. City authorities are removing the camp in what they describe as an attempt to clean the area, without offering any resettlement options to residents, according to municipal authorities. (AP Photo/Dieu Nalio Chery)
The businessman nominated to be Haiti’s next prime minister said Wednesday he wants to scrap the earthquake reconstruction commission co-chaired by former U.S. President Bill Clinton that has been criticized for its slow progress.

Daniel-Gerard Rouzier said the 27-member commission is “dysfunctional” and he would replace it with a new government agency.

“What I can tell you is that the (commission) as it exists today will not continue,” Rouzier said in an interview with The Associated Press. “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 is awaiting Senate confirmation of his nomination, did not provide details of his proposal for a new reconstruction agency. He said it would be more responsive to the needs of the Haitian people and still accountable to international donors.

He said he hopes Clinton, a special U.N. envoy to Haiti who has made many trips to the country to preside over commission meetings, will 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 Clinton’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.

A spokesman for Clinton and officials with the Interim Haiti Recovery Commission did not respond by Wednesday to mulitple requests for comment.

The commission was established after the January 2010 earthquake because international donors wanted assurances that reconstruction would be orderly and free of the corruption that has long plagued Haiti. It includes representatives of the U.S. government, France, Japan and other members of the international community that have contributed the most toward rebuilding Haiti.

Clinton has been co-chairman along with Jean-Max Bellerive, the outgoing Haitian prime minister, presiding 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 86 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 U.S. Government Accountability Office criticized the commission for delays in hiring staff, 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 newly elected President Michel 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.


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1 thought on “Haiti’s PM nominee would replace earthquake panel

  1. The interview was a treat! Rouzier came across as bright, articulate, organized, highly educated, humble, and passionate about his country. His inner strength, faith in Jesus, determination, and sincerity came through during the interview. It was very surprising that one could talk so freely about their faith, their love for their brethren, and their willingness to serve their nation selflessly. I hope he gets a chance to lead Haiti out of the abyss. I am particularly excited about the opportunity of having highly professional and qualified people run this country. Yes, I look forward to breaking away from the slew of dishonest, incompetent, mediocre, and frankly immoral politicians that have plagued the history of this country.  I welcome the “bouquet” of highly trained, competent, and selfless Haitians Rouzier referred to during the interview! 


    Sent from my iPhone

    On May 25, 2011, at 7:19 AM, Max Benjamin wrote:

    A member of the President’s Advisory Committee in Rwanda, Michael Fairbanks is co-founder of The SEVEN Fund, a philanthropic foundation run by entrepreneurs. His most recent book is “In the River They Swim: Essays from Around the World on Enterprise Solutions to Poverty.”


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    On May 25, 2011, at 4:16 AM, Richard Douyon wrote:

    That interview of Rouzier in signal FM was a real treat.  He made some news.  He said that the same firm of Michael Fairbanks, co-founder of the Seven Funds, that drew the economic blueprint of Rwanda in 1996 was hired by Martelly to do the same for Haiti.  Rwanda has had more than 10% economy growth for 8 years consecutively, therefore by multiplying the size of their economy by 3 fold.  Both countries are comparable in terms of size and demographics, but Rwanda has no access to the sea and no natural Ressources.  They did it by good governance, low corruption rate, free education and tourism at their huge gorilla park in the mountains which attracts millions per year.  Good news for us!

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