WASHINGTON, DC – In a series of high level meetings during his recent visit to Haiti, Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Albert Ramdin, reiterated the OAS longstanding and ongoing commitment to advancing peace, stability and socio-economic development in that country, and welcomed indications that partial senatorial elections have been scheduled for April 2009.
Ambassador Ramdin engaged in bilateral discussions with President Rene Preval, Prime Minister Michele Pierre-Louis, and Minister of Foreign Affairs Alrich Nicolas. He also used the opportunity to meet with the President of the Chamber of Deputies, Mr. Levaillant Louis-Jeune; members of the Provisional Electoral Council, and Special Representative of the UN Secretary General to Haiti, Hedi Annabi.
Haitian authorities discussed several issues with the Assistant Secretary General Ramdin, including the impact of drug trafficking, constitutional reform – an issue for which President Preval has established a special commission, and the current electoral process that, although on track, presents a number of challenges including allegations of ineligible candidates and competing lists of candidates under the symbol of a political party. The Haitian authorities also expressed interest in an electoral observer mission by the OAS as a way to safeguard the credibility of the process.
Ambassador Ramdin also discussed the strengthening of cooperation between the OAS and the UN with the UN Special Representative in Haiti to determine how best to support Haiti’s electoral process.
Both, the Haitian authorities and the international community, confirmed that advanced planning is underway with regard to the donor conference to fund the National Strategy for Growth and Poverty Reduction (DSNCRP), an important tool to help foster development, create jobs and prosperity. The DSNCRP is being revised to focus on more concrete and achievable results, in the light of the food riot and the disasters that struck Haiti last year. The meeting is currently scheduled to take place in April in Washington, DC.
Assistant Secretary General Ramdin took this opportunity to stress the importance of strong leadership and unity for the successful pursuit of social and economic development. “The OAS has a longstanding relationship with Haiti and its people. We will continue to support the effort toward strengthening the democratic process, elections and rule of law, as well as social and economic development” he said.
During his visit to Haiti, Ambassador Ramdin also participated in the opening of a resource center for persons with disability, a project implemented by the OAS office in Haiti with the financial support of USAID to support the Secretariat of State for the Integration of Persons with Disability.