WASHINGTON, USA -- The secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), José Miguel Insulza, on Friday highlighted the efforts of the government of President Michel Martelly in the planning of long-term projects and the political stability in the Caribbean country, at the opening of the Global Haitian Diaspora Congress 2012,
“We have a strong and willing government under the leadership of President Michel Martelly and Prime Minister Laurent Lamothe, a functioning parliament, political and institutional stability, all of which are assisting in the country’s long-term recovery and development,” said Insulza, who emphasized that “Haitians cannot live forever in transition, where a series of short-term actions are taken constantly to meet urgent needs.”
“Haiti stands today at a crossroads: a period in which, for many years, or even decades maybe, is one of the most propitious for all actors to come together in the long lasting efforts to support Haiti,” said Insulza, who was the first speaker of the Congress, which meets until Saturday at OAS headquarters in Washington, DC.
“I have no doubt that the 2012 Diaspora Congress will be forthcoming in addressing numerous issues of the upmost importance for the continued engagement of Haitians living abroad, as well as for Haiti itself," he added.
During his address, Insulza reaffirmed the commitment of the OAS to strengthening governance and public administration in Haiti, and recalled the support provided by the hemispheric organization for years to the Caribbean country.
“Unknown to no one are the efforts we have undertaken to achieve a basis for a greater institutionalization of state and capacity building processes. Since 2005, the OAS has actively participated, hand in hand with the Haitian State, in the registration of nearly 5 million of its citizens -- the majority of its adult population -- which has enabled many, for the very first time, to hold a national identification card made with the latest biometric technology,” he said. “To have been able to undertake such a challenging project -- one of the most important and largest scale projects the OAS has carried out in the past years -- is, for us, a source of great pride and satisfaction,” he added.
The OAS secretary general concluded his speech by recalling that the coat of arms of the Republic of Haiti reads: "Unity is strength," and he added "I firmly believe that we are here today to put these words into action."
The head of the OAS expressed support for "the convergence of the goodwill of the men and women of the Haitian nation to create synergies that help the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the Haitian nation" because "democracy is the cornerstone in the Haiti’s reconstruction."
Joseph Baptiste, president of the Haitian Diaspora Federation, called on his countrymen to help the country because "the time has come for all of us to move in a new direction; we must embrace a new era of engagement based on mutual interests and mutual respect and our work must begin now.”
Ambassador Duly Brutus, the permanent representative of Haiti to the OAS, noted "the opportunity to meet here at the House of the Americas, to generate an open and fraternal debate, with common perspectives for building a united Haiti and prosperous future for the welfare of all its children that live inside and outside the country."
For his part, Paul Altidor, Haiti’s ambassador to Washington, said, "Over the past 40 years it is well documented that a significant number of Haitians have achieved significant success in the United States, whether in sports, entertainment, medicine, finance and other sectors, especially at the individual level."
Altidor added that "it is very important for Haiti and its future" that the Haitians who live in the United States "play a critical role in the development of Haiti."
The Minister of Haitians Living Abroad, Daniel Supplice, recalled the progress made because "for the first time we have the ability to grant dual citizenship" to Haitians who were born abroad and want to return to live in Haiti, while also noting the importance of remittances from Haitian migrants to their country, that reach $2 billion annually.