PORT AU PRINCE, Haiti -- The United Nations envoy in Haiti on Friday voiced concern at the ongoing impasse in Haiti over the long-delayed elections and outlined several priorities to move the process forward.
The Senate elections were due to take place in January 2012 at the latest – but some 13 months later, “the political elite are still trying to come to a consensus on the basis for organizing these elections,” said Nigel Fisher, proving that this political stand-off is a clear sign that Haiti is still not “open for business.”
Briefing reporters after returning from his recent visit to New York, Fisher, the acting special representative of the secretary-general and head of the UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti (MINUSTAH), added that the elections must be “credible, fair and inclusive.”
While in New York, the envoy met with members of the Security Council and the so-called ‘Friends of Haiti’, who shared their concerns and frustrations.
The predominant concern was of an impasse, he said. Progress had been much slower than was expected back in 2012. “Investments have not reached the levels that were anticipated. GNP [gross national product] grew by approximately 2.5 percent in 2012, compared to the 8 percent foreseen.”
In addition to the gloomy economic scenario, there were also doubts being raised regarding the independence of the judiciary.
But if there is one issue that dominates the discourse and highlights the disappointment of Haiti’s friends, it is the impasse in the organization of the elections, he stated.
Fisher said he plans to confer with Haiti’s leaders to come up with some tangible benchmarks – such as a date for elections by the end of 2013, a Transitional College for a permanent Electoral Council, and a political agreement to agree on steps to move towards elections.
The Security Council and Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon have also entrusted him with elaborating, along with the government, a roadmap for the coming years, which will clearly define the priorities for MINUSTAH to promote stability and security, and strengthen the rule of law, respect for human rights and good governance.
“We need to constantly ask ourselves this question: ‘How are our efforts going to improve their lives in a tangible way?’” said the envoy.
“I understand and support fully the desire of Haitians to be in charge of their own country’s affairs. And the role of the UN and other partners is to accompany them on this road. After all, what is sovereignty if it doesn’t include all Haitians?” stressed Fisher.