HAITI SEEKS GREATER LOCAL ROLE IN REBUILDING
New York. Haitians feel "left out" of international efforts to rebuild their quake-shattered country and should have a greater role, President Michel Martelly said in remarks released on Thursday, AFP reported.
"The bottom line is, Haitians want to be included in improving and rebuilding the country, and so far, I hear quite consistently they are feeling left out," Martelly said in remarks prepared for delivery in New York.
"We are asking that all countries, multilateral institutions and other bodies work to incorporate Haitians into the implementation of their projects and programs."
The speech was delivered by Martelly's aide and would-be foreign minister, Daniel Supplice, after the president abruptly canceled his scheduled appearance at Columbia University in New York. Officials gave no immediate explanation for the change.
Martelly, who was inaugurated in May, has so far failed to form a government after lawmakers rejected his initial two appointees for prime minister, but Supplice is a probable candidate for the foreign minister post.
Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, has struggled to recover since the January 2010 earthquake that devastated its capital, killed more than 225,000 people and left one in seven homeless.
The pace of reconstruction has been painfully slow for hundreds of thousands of traumatized survivors who lost everything and are forced to live in squalid tent cities around the still-ruined capital.
In recent months Haiti has seen protests against United Nations peacekeepers after scandals involving the alleged rape of a local youth by Uruguayan soldiers and a cholera outbreak that some have blamed on peacekeepers from Nepal.
Martelly, a popular singer who became president after a hotly disputed election, was in New York this week to make his debut at the UN General Assembly.