Port-au-Prince, Monday, January 8th, 2017
It is with a feeling of humility and a deep respect for the Constitution of the Republic that I address myself to the Haitian people in this august Assembly, on the occasion of the First Session of the parliamentary year 2018.
The Parliament, within the framework of its constitutional attributions, plays a determining role in the accompaniment of the Haitian people in its arduous struggle for the reconquest of the fullness of the national sovereignty.
We therefore urge all those who want to express their disagreements to do so in accordance with the law, democracy and political pluralism.
Brothers and sisters,
States General is an occasion to agree on what we should do to change Haiti, in the direction we all recognize it must go.
In the month of September 2017, I started to discuss with the leaders of the political parties on how the law ask for us to create conditions to modernize politics in Haiti.
We have all remarked that Haiti cannot function with more than 130 political parties without economic and financial means to take themselves in charge.
We all agree that politics cannot be done neither in troubles nor in the streets. Doing politics cannot be an excuse to destabilized, to break and burn, destroy public and private property to make people afraid to come visit the country.
We cannot continue to live in a system where overtime there is an election, even before the creation of the Electoral Council, people are already protesting for election they say are not good, that they do not have trust in the Electoral Council.
That is why also, since 1987 the constitution asks that there is a permanent Electoral Council, that has never been done. Its like every Haiti are okay for exceptions to become the rules, even tough the mother law of the country dictates what must be done.
Election costs a lot of money. We cannot allow for you to break every election that is made. That is why as Head of State, I will use all ways the law has given me, as article 192 of the constitution asks, and the way Article 136 say that the President must make the State’s institutions work, together with the other two powers.
In the year of 2018, after 31 years of lateness due to instabilities, the Permanent Electoral Council will be put on foot.
I am announcing today that the executive power will launch a public appeal to find people who can represent it at the Electoral Council. History has shown that it is transparency and independence of the Electoral Council that has allowed elections to go well.
I want everyone to be clear also that in the election that will take place during the remaining of my mandate, it is the capacity of the candidates to convince the people which will decide who will be elected. The Presidency, the government will not take any decision, close or afar to manipulate any institution, or any aspect of the elections. We are asking all political parties, all candidates, all actors globally to keep the same behavior.
Ladies and gentlemen,
I recognize that citizens of good faith have spoken out against the formation of the Electoral Council on a permanent basis despite the requirement of the Constitution. They fear his political instrumentalization. From this rostrum, in my capacity as Head of State, I proclaim once again my unwavering commitment to republican values and democratic principles. Article 136 enjoins me to respect and enforce the constitution. I will not turn away for a moment from the course set by the constitution. To this cardinal principle of democracy, I am irreducibly attached.
It is the same principle that has made my government work with the parliament to put afoot all other institutions required by the constitution.
While putting the institutions required by the constitution in place, while launching the General Sectorial State, the administration, the government cannot stand by and watch.
Every citizens are asking the State to act to correct all problems the country have: State employees who cannot get paid; teachers who are not nominated; dialysis centers that are not working, citizens who cannot obtain national identification card, passport, driver’s licence, workers who want to get paid more could not wait anymore; unemployed youths, social projects which could not work: Solidarity basket, support students, lovely mother,, community restaurants among others.
The same way, while the country is importing up to 60% of everything it needs, after hurricane Matthew devastated one third of the country; rivers are swollen when it rains, since February 7, when I came to power, we have started working to give a solutions to all these difficulties.
All reports that exist on the situation of the country, all studies that have already been done show that some things that should have been done rapidly to relieve the people, to start delivering real good solutions to all the problems..
It is in this sense that my administration, in March 2017, launched a strategy we called Caravan of Change. While we have begun to change the ways Haitian citizens obtain their identification documents. We have made big efforts to make the dialysis center at the Genera Hospital work; we have put a dialysis center in the OFATMA hospital in Port-au-Prince, in the OFATMA hospital in au Cap, in OFATMA hospital in aux Cayes. We know there are many more problems.
We are working so that every Haitian around the country can find good health care, good schools for their children; for the soil to produce more; for people to find work to take care of their families, we have begun giving to DINEPA help to buy equipments and accessories to give everyone potable water and we will establish a national Institute that is called National Institute of hydrauliques ressources which will control everything that has to do with water.
The Caravan is a huge demonstration that the Haitian State can use its ressources to put the sun, the water, the land and the people for the Artibonite Valley and all agricultural zones to produce more.
The same way, the government could not leave the people of the grand South- I mean the Grand Anse Department, the Nippes and South Department- in the grave situation that Hurricane Matthew had left them. We could continue to do the same little projects which never really resolved the problems.
The works are many, but the State has begun to bring what they call structural solutions so the vulnerable zones can better resist when there are hurricanes. That is how we have recuperated under the grass, equipments that the State has spent a lot of money, like trucks, tractors and 5 huge factories that can make gravel and sand to mix with asphalt to built road throughout the country. We have repaired all these materials and the State is working with engineers, technicians and operators. Many of them, was not doing anything while they were getting paid however since the State did not have work for them. That was not their faults. The Caravan has given result because the Artibonite Valley produced more rice in the year of 2017. A production ended an another one began immediately.
In the Grande Anse, Nippes and South, many rivers are being cleaned up, roads and homes are being constructed for the victims of hurricane Matthew.
The Caravan is a project, it is a program. It is a different way the State organizes the way it works so it could do more with the little it has for the benefit of he people. That mean: Trucks, tractors, factories, asphalt, and people it is paying every month in the Ministry of Agriculture, Ministry of Environment and Ministry of Public Works, Mistry of Defense, CNE, DINEPA etc can do the job that their were suppose to do with the money that is always in the budget every year. That permits more work to be done in a shorter period of time for little money.
That means, the Caravan uses money in the budget, State employees, State equipments already there, and some others that the government has purchased, and that has begun to arrive in the country, to do the work of the people instead of doing the work of the elites and the rich as that was done before.
We are continuing, we are correcting, we are innovating in this sense. In the General States we will have the chance to discuss how this strategy will advance while coming to agreement on big development projects to transform Haiti like our neighboring countries.
There are no other ways but to continue on this road. That is what the Caravan is. That is the strategy my administration will put in all 10 departments this coming February 7th.
My dream is to be able to build around 15.000 classrooms that the country is missing to be able to give the children of the people good education.
We are working to make function many big hospitals around the country that cost the Haitian State tens of millions of dollars like in Gonaives, in Jacmel and in Port-au-Prince. We will build roads all around the country like we have already done in the South, Department, the North Department, the Northwest Department, Grand Ansse, Nippes, Artibonite, West, Centre, Southwest; and many communes where we are building sidewalks so we can asphalt the roads in these communes.
That is what the Caravan is! It came from the tradition of Konbit* and eskwad* the people have used everyday God has made for one to help another build house, garden, built road in sectional communes and others.
For Haiti to develop, we must have a strategy. We must begin to open huge construction sites such as cable connection for tourists to visit the Citadelle when they come to Labadee; such as efforts to give electricity 24/7 in the country. Such as efforts to build State universities, developments of small islands, irrigation dam, tanks to conserve water around the country.
I believe we all agree that Haiti. like all country on earth, cannot develop without a good education system producing technicians, teachers, professors and university researchers.
That is what the Caravan is! It is the hope of the people, with political good will married with the capacity the State has so Haiti can really begin to make progress. Everyone has his place in this big strategy. That is what I promised the people!That is what I will continue to do this year.
All decisions on the development of the country, especially political decisions ask that all of us who are heading the State must work coolheaded so justice, peace and stability can reign over the country.
Despite conditions that are very difficult, that National Police has made big efforts to protect and serve the country. Our police deserve a hat off! Let us salute the memories of all those who have fallen in 2017 while working.
this year, I asked the Prime Minister who is the President of the Superior Council of the Police
-To do all that is necessary for the career plan of the Police is implemented because the Police is a career; the police officers must know how their career can develop, without being friend with an authority in the State to make them advance.
-To make everything he must do so police officers can receive all their primes;
-To do all that is necessary so police officers can receive all the money that the State owes them;
-For all police officers to receive their promotions;
-To do everything that must be done so all the children of police officers can go to schools;
-For those without a home can begin the project of building their house, same thing for teachers of public schools,
-The Prime minister, the chief of the government, this year, the hospital I promised the officers must come to reality.
The constitution has put in place two security forces: The Police and the Army. This year, the State Generals will have a some time to prepare a law project for the Parliament to vote on so the country can have an Armed force and a doctrine that gives it a development mission. I am repeating, Police and Army are not in politics; Police and Army will never be in politics; they are there to protect and give the people service.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Beyond political and social struggles, Corruption is the absolute evil, the gangrene that afflicts Our Country; it is a crime against development and the best interests of the Haitian people.
I intend to step up the fight against corruption, embezzlement and theft of state property. Similarly, we must stop the abusive behavior of certain officials and individuals who attack the population with their sirens, their flashing lights, their windows excessively tinted to protect against I do not know what danger; motorists who drive without license plates, and even against the meaning, while peaceful citizens suffer these aggression, helpless; to ransomers who prevent the people from obtaining the public services to which they are entitled; officials who do not work, but receive their salary; public servants who encourage extra billing to benefit from a rebate; gravediggers of all kinds who make life difficult for the citizens.
I tell you that those people who violate the laws of the Republic will be prosecuted and punished.
Likewise, the new police unit to fight smuggling on the border testifies to my administration's desire to thwart corruption. However, this fight is not only the business of the executive power. Parliament must provide the legal arsenal; and the judiciary punish offenders.
I remind you that the exercise of political power, the status of civil servant, or member of the 3 constituted powers of the State, do not give anyone carte blanche to steal, to embark on corruption, smuggling, or to wreak havoc. in the streets of the Republic!
Certainly, if the majority of citizens who are in detention, are arbitrarily, beyond the constitutional deadlines, it is partly because justice does not act. It is also because, beyond the material difficulties, the law and the rules of procedure are not applied.
Meaning, corruption is not only the Head of State and heads of government who must fight it. Everyone is concerned. Justice must play its role in the fight against corruption also.
I am also insisting, that the fight against corruption, cannot be a tool to conduct political business. Every power has it work to do without getting into responsibilities the constitution do not give the other powers.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Regarding the external relations of our country, Haiti is turning its back on the assistantship. Our country is committed to active partnership, which responds to its priorities.
Thirty years of assistantship and several billion dollars spent by our international partners, all categories combined, for the most part, to finance small non-structuring projects, have sadly demonstrated their limits. They left a heavy and costly legacy in terms of weakening the state and loss of public confidence in the institutions of the Republic and in their leaders. This policy is over since February 7, 2017.
We Haitians must recognize that the national development initiative comes back to us first and foremost. We are responsible for the fact that over thirty years of eternal transition has atrophied the country's creative capabilities. We, who come from this new generation of political, economic and social leaders, reject the pessimism and the fatalism that surrounds us with the belief that Haiti is condemned to mediocrity and underdevelopment.
This perspective is a crime against the epic of 1804. Today, we declare, therefore, loudly, in front of the National Representation, in front of all the Haitian citizens that they live in the country or abroad, we declare to the world that the Republic of Haiti is now taking its destiny into its own hands.
To the friends and international partners of the Republic of Haiti, my administration and the government renew their commitment to good neighborliness. Founding member of the United Nations and the Organization of American States, Haiti favors friendly relations with all countries, without distinction.
Last year, the Haitian government embarked on a new policy of reforming its diplomacy. It is now oriented towards the pursuit of higher national interests. The government has initiated an assessment of the country's diplomatic apparatus and foreign policy. These reforms are beginning to bear fruit.
With regard to official development assistance, the Caravan of Change is the strategy we have chosen to carry out the national development policy. The government intends to continue to engage with international partners to implement the new cooperation paradigm.
With regard to the policy of adaptation, mitigation and increased resilience to the effects of climate change, the Haitian government will continue its efforts for environmental recovery. As part of its rotating Presidency of the Caribbean Community, CARICOM, Haiti intends, during this 6-month mandate, to organize a conference to develop a common regional approach to hurricane damage insurance and measures collective environmental resilience.
The 2016 Cyclones Matthew, as well as Maria and Irma in 2017, demonstrated that countries in the region can not continue to act in isolation. This is the message I gave at the Summit on financing climate action in Paris on December 12th. This is the policy that Haiti will develop further this year.
Ladies and gentlemen,
At the trade and industrial levels, Haiti attaches particular importance to constructive and mutually beneficial relations between all countries. However, Haiti can not, must not continue to be a place of purchase and resale of products of all kinds, without quality control. The economy of rent is anti economic and social development. It generates: inequalities, corruption, waste of strategic resources and precarisation of the life of the majority of citizens. It never and never will be able to contribute to achieving the ultimate ambition of politics, in the primary sense of the word, which is to promote the general well-being of the population.
Youth of the Country,
We are convinced that the best migration policy is to strengthen the Haitian State, promote the rule of law, produce more and better, better educate the people, provide basic services, including health care, health care, health care drinking water and the protection of the environment, and to create decent and sustainable jobs. All of these things will only be achievable within the framework of renewed stability thanks to a shared vision of our common future.
It is therefore in the interest of all our neighbors in the Caribbean Basin, North and South America, in particular, that Haiti can create more jobs by attracting direct investment and by producing more for the future. national consumption, as well as for export.
To this end, the government, together with the Parliament, and strengthening the judiciary, will continue its policy of improving the business climate, through the following major initiatives:
1) Intensify the fight against corruption by measures to curb extra billing; to improve the procurement process; to clean up the public administration; to secure the border and curb contraband, which continues to deprive the state of the resources it needs to provide basic services to the people.
2) The government will strengthen the measures advocated to secure the right to private property. This policy appeals to all Haitians, especially those who have a duty to protect the lives and property of citizens. The only obstacle to the guarantee of private property is the weakness of the State, at all levels, calling for the responsibility of the Government, legislators, lawyers, notaries, surveyors, police and other actors of the judicial system.
Brothers and Sisters,
I know you are all tired! I know hat you cannot wait any longer. The State can not remain with its arms crossed while the youths of the country, those who are educated, are fortifying others’ economies. Let’s work this year, all together, to put all the malfeasants who are stopping people from enjoying their asset in a little place where they would o longer be able to continue to cause trouble as the law asks. We will not continue with the practice where bandits seized the lands of compatriots who have been through miseries in foreign land to built their homes so they can spend their old years.
The Prime minister, the Chief of the government, the Minister of justice, all government commissioners’ the police, CSPJ, all actors, lawyers, notary associations, land surveyors, the bell has rung for all of us to work so that malfeasants can stop stealing people’s land.
All Haitians are tired; It is our duty to stop with these practices in Haiti. The government will give justice the means to secure people’s assets in the country so that we can facilitate investment to create more job.. People with lands and goods that are being stolen by malfeasants with the complicity of state workers you should not be afraid to depose a complaint. That is why I read BRICIF. Intervention Brigade against land insecurities, and I am asking the Prime minister for the Minister of Justice to make disponible a number for people to call against those stealing their lands.
Ladies and gentlemen
This year's governance agenda and the rest of my five-year term is ambitious. It requires the participation of all. It focuses on the sense of patriotic duty, the ongoing political and social dialogue, the public-private partnership, more equity and social justice, including the recognition of rights, as well as the duties of the citizen to make Our Country a investment destination.
Haiti, a country that innovates, a country whose leaders assume their responsibilities for its development. It is the challenge that all, together, in national unity, highlighting the ingenuity, creativity, courage, bravery and intelligence of our People, 214 years after political independence, we will continue to make it a reality in 2018.
Thank you !
Translated from Creole and French by ©Hougansydney.com 2018. All rights reserved.
In : National