By Joe Colas
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (HCNN) -- Haitian Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe announced on Wednesday that a special bureau will be established at Haiti's Customs office to facilitate clearance of shipments sent by legitimate philanthropic organizations which are helping the Caribbean country.
Many non-profit organizations in the Haitian Diaspora as well as international NGOs conducting humanitarian and development assistance programs in Haiti often complain that equipment and other shipments destined to assisting many vulnerable sectors of the population get stuck in customs because of bureaucratic procedures.
Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe
"We are aware of the difficulties and we know we have to do more to help philanthropic organizations to better help us," said Lamothe.
"We will open a customer type of service for many of the NGO and philanthropic organizations so that they may have faster access to customs services and to get their items out of customs quicker," Lamothe told the Haitian-Caribbean News Network (HCNN).
The Haitian prime minister said his team is working on a plan that will allow the government to solve the problem which is hurting Haiti's interests and the operations of NGOs and other humanitarian institutions shipping material from outside the country.
"We are working on a systemic approach to solve the issue by giving a temporary fast-track access to reputable NGOs that are constantly shipping things to the country, to help them get their stuff out of customs and improve their efficiency of their work in Haiti," Lamothe stated.
Lamothe emphasized the need for philanthropic organizations working in Haiti to register, to coordinate with and to align their program with government policies and plans of action in different sectors to improve efficiency and avoid duplications.
"Private philanthropies and the government need to work together to achieve the aim which is to allow the Haitian people to ultimately benefit from all the hard work and effort the NGOs are putting in raising funds for Haiti," Lamothe insisted.
"Because raising money is one thing, but having an effective use of it in Haiti is essential to us," he added.
Lamothe and members of his government were expected on July 19 at Little Haiti in Miami, where Haitian officials, members and representatives of different groups in the Haitian Diaspora in Florida, will have a town-hall meeting to discuss social, economic and political developments in Haiti and how the Diaspora may get more involved.