Media Center

Press Release


  September 30, 2008

Haiti’s governance challenges took the spotlight at a workshop last week in Waterloo, Canada, where the Organization of American States’ (OAS) Assistant Secretary General Albert R. Ramdin delivered the opening address at the workshop on “Haiti’s Governance Challenges and the International Community,” hosted jointly by the Centre for International Governance Innovation (CIGI) and the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies.

Despite its challenges, Haiti is also “a country with opportunities, because the country’s pride and creativity, well applied, can lead to stability, prosperity and progress, to a bright future,” Ramdin declared in his presentation entitled “The Politics of Change: Governance and Development in Haiti.” His audience included CIGI Executive Director Daniel Schwanen and Brazil’s Ambassador to Canada Paulo Cordeiro, along with top Haitian officials and Haiti experts, including representatives of MINUSTAH.

“A close coordination within the international community as well as with Haitian counterparts is of critical importance to achieve the best results, without duplicating efforts and wasting available resources,” Ambassador Ramdin said.

Ambassador Ramdin urged the international community and the Haitian authorities to keep a constructive political platform alive, while using the high level of international and hemispheric solidarity to implement the agreed strategy for growth and poverty reduction. He argued that if Haiti can implement even a half of the government’s National Strategy Document for Growth and Poverty Reduction, with some key revisions, “a sustained growth path would have been initiated.”

Noting Haiti’s development is “first and foremost the responsibility of Haitians,” Ramdin said the country’s politicians, civil service, private sector, academia, media, civil society and Diaspora each plays a critical role in mitigating the impact of social and economic underdevelopment. Haiti’s structural development and growth will be the education of its people. “I believe a culture change is necessary for every Haitian to feel responsible for the well-being of their fellow citizens,” the OAS official said.

On the OAS’ longstanding support for democracy promotion as well as governance, the rule of law and human rights in Haiti, Ramdin pointed to the hemispheric organization’s support as the country prepares to hold partial senatorial elections. The OAS has been able to register 94% of the adult population of the country, he stated. In addition, the OAS has embarked on a program of development support in trade, tourism, investment and sustainable development—“all aimed at fostering an environment for job creation and income generation and increase of the productive capacity,” Ramdin reported.

But further structural reform and rehabilitation will be necessary in security, the judiciary, the educational system, and agriculture and land distribution, among other important sectors, according to the OAS Assistant Secretary General, who welcomed the approval of a new Prime Minister and Cabinet by the Haitian legislative bodies.

Reference: E-370/08