Haiti’s state of readiness for the November 28, 2010 General Election was this week reviewed by key stakeholders at the Organization of American States (OAS) in Washington, D.C.
Representatives of Member States and Permanent Observers of the OAS participated in a meeting of the “Haiti Group of Friends” on Wednesday on the issue.
OAS Assistant Secretary General and Chair of the Group of Friends of Haiti, Ambassador Albert Ramdin informed the meeting of some of the challenges being faced by Haiti’s Office of National Identity (ONI) and Haitian citizens in the lead up to the election.
The Assistant Secretary General, who met a day earlier with the director of Haiti’s ONI, said the registration process was being challenged by limited technical resources, given the large amount of Haitian citizens trying to register to vote 2 months before the polls.
Ambassador Ramdin indicated that Haitians were also concerned about the possibility of tropical storms ahead of the election, which could compromise the electoral process since thousands of Haitians are still living in tent cities.
“While the international community, for good reason, is focusing on the electoral process and the politics of the country, we must not forget that there are still millions of Haitians living in very difficult circumstances. Approximately 1.2 million Haitians are still living in tents and do not having fundamental necessities,” Ambassador Ramdin stated. “Those are not the best circumstances to have a population go into an electoral process and this is one of the concerns we should keep in mind for the next two months,” he added.
The Assistant Secretary General of the OAS also referred to tasks now being carried out by the joint OAS-CARICOM Electoral Observation Mission (EOM), which is headed by Caricom Assistant Secretary General Colin Granderson. The joint initiative is responsible for the deployment of approximately 200 observers, across Haiti.
The Permanent Representative of Haiti to the OAS, Ambassador Duly Brutus, also took the floor, thanking the OAS and the international community for the support provided for the elections. Citizen participation and political stability, he said, were critical to facilitate the reconstruction of the country after the earthquake.
Ambassador Ramdin also referred to the immediate needs of Haitian school children, who remain without basic school supplies. To this end he urged support for the OAS “Backpacks for Haiti’s Children” initiative. (For more information visit http://www.oas.org/en/member_states/haiti/backpack/default.html )
For more information, please visit the OAS Website at www.oas.org.