Washington, DC (HCNN) — US Secretary of State John Kerry said on Thursday that the recalcitrance of those blocking the holding of elections in Haiti was challenging the overall development of the Caribbean Country, where he acknowledged the hard work being performed by the leaders of the Executive branch to move things forward.
Recognizing the challenge of completing the task of having local and legislative elections as soon as possible and of being able to set the date and hold those elections to complete the task of Haiti’s transition, Kerry reproved that the process has now been blocked politically, through the resistance shown by a group of stakeholders.
“This resistance – the unwillingness to allow the people to be able to have this vote – really challenges the overall growth and development progress of the country,” said Kerry, as he stood by Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe he welcomed for discussions at the State Department in Washington on Thursday.
Kerry was alluding to the behavior of the 6 recalcitrant senators who have blocked, mainly for political reasons, the holding of local and legislative elections to renew two thirds of the 30-member senate, the entire Lower Chamber and hundreds of local government entities.
“You need to have a fully functioning government. The president (Michel Martelly) has been working very hard, the Prime minister (Lamothe) working very, very hard, to pull people together to make this happen,” Kerry acknowledged, as he evoked his recent conversation with President Martelly and announced his plans to work very closely with him to move things forward.
The US government and other entities of the international community have been, over the past couple of years, full of praise for work and progress made in Haiti, following a deadly and devastating earthquake in 2010.
Kerry highlighted hard work to bring about positive change in Haiti, not only from the haitian government, but also on the part of the US and the international community.
Receiving Lamothe at the State Department, Kerry said he was welcoming “a good friend and a good partner in the major efforts to meet the challenges in Haiti, which are significant because of the devastating earthquake and some of the needs to push for political reform.”
The US top diplomat expressed very high hopes that his talks with Lamothe will result in progress with respect to a number of issues on the table and will facilitate their “ability to continue the progress and complete the task of helping the people of Haiti to have the day-to-day lives they deserve and want, and which we want for them.”
For his part, Prime minister Lamothe underlined efforts made by the Haitian government to facilitate the holding of the elections, denouncing those who have put the electoral process on hold, by refusing to facilitate the adoption of electoral amendments submitted to the senate nearly 7 months ago.
“We are working very hard to organize those elections as soon as possible,” said Lamothe. “President Martelly has done all the concessions necessary to facilitate the elections, but the electoral law is still blocked at the senate,” complained Lamothe after his meeting with Kerry.
“We came a long way after a devastating earthquake that took away 250,000 lives, 500,000 people were wounded,” he explained. “The country had $14 billion in damages, and 50 percent of the population of Port-au-Prince was homeless,” Lamothe said. “That’s the situation we found.”
Haiti’s Chief of government highlighted that, today, 98 percent of the displaced population had been relocated as the country continues to progress. “And that’s thanks very much to the U.S. support of Haiti’s growth, Haiti’s progress,” stated Lamothe, mentioning the establishment of the “thriving industrial park in the northern part of Haiti”, largely supported by the US.
Kerry and Lamothe also discussed about different other issues such as Energy security, the rule of law and security in general.