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Prime Minister of Dominica, Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit has called for greater order to be brought to the operations of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in the recovery and reconstruction efforts in Haiti.
“You have several hundred NGOs operating in Haiti, and basically doing what they want, with no regard to the wishes of the Government of Haiti,” Mr. Skerrit told a press conference on the second day (July 5) of the 31st Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of CARICOM at the Rose Hall Resort in Montego Bay, St. James. The press conference followed discussions with the Secretaries General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, and the Organization of American States, Mr. Jose Miguel Insulza.
“We have called on the UN Secretary General to bring some level of order to the situation, because while we speak about maintaining democracy in Haiti, we cannot at the same time be empowering NGOs to undermine the democratic institutions that are in Haiti,” Mr. Skerrit said.
He stressed that the concern was that if this situation was not addressed, the tremendous strides that had been made in Haiti, would be undermined, particularly taking into account that elections must be held by February 2011. “We believe that the situation is untenable, and we should put an immediate stop to it. We must call on the international institutions and government to desist from putting the resources into NGOs,” he insisted.
Mr. Skerrit noted that because pledges are being made, Haitian nationals are under the impression that the government was in fact in control of its resources and was not spending the money to address the issues confronting Haiti.
“A basic thing for example, like the clearing of the streets.(that) is not being undertaken by the international community and the President has indicated that he requested US$150 million for budget support.he has only received US$75 million, and out of that, he has to use some to pay contracts out to clear the streets,” he explained.
Prime Minister Skerrit stressed the need for budgetary support to the government of Haiti, to meet its daily obligations to citizens, such as the payment of salaries to teachers, nurses, and the police.
Meanwhile, Mr. Skerrit acknowledged that some concerns have been raised about accountability and transparency in regards to the management of funds by the Haitian government. “There are ways of addressing that. We agreed on a protocol where for example the IMF could endorse or validate the budget.we could use the IDB to create the account where the resources can be deposited,” he suggested.