By Joe Colas
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN) -- Haiti’s prime minister called on Parliament on Monday to complete the voting process of a tough anti-corruption legislation that provides more extended prison time for wrongdoers and other sanctions in a Caribbean country where corruption has long been rampant.
Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe
Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe said the country will make significant improvements in the fight against corruption if lawmakers, at the lower chamber, pass the bill which has already been approved by the senate.
"Parliament should help us fight corruption by voting the law, because with the new bill, if it becomes law, the Haitian society can win the anti-corruption battle," Lamothe told HCNN on Tuesday.
"As everybody can see, this government gives a lot of attention to the fight against corruption," he said. "We have strengthened the capacity of the anti-corruption unit, we have given them more means to carry out their mission," Lamothe stated.
In the last Transparency International corruption perception index report, Haiti gained 12 spots in two years (from 175th in 2011to 163rd in 2013).
"This shows that some progress has been made and if we pass the law the country's ranking will further improve," Lamothe told HCNN. "And we will continue to relentlessly fight corruption this year," he added.
A total of about 90 people, including government functionaries, have been indicted or jailed while other cases are being investigated.
In recent months, US State Department officials -- including special coordinator for Haiti, Thomas C. Adams -- said the current administration had done more efforts than any of its predecessors to fight corruption in Haiti.