OAS Haiti Task Force Outlines Priorities

Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of American States (OAS), Albert Ramdin paid a visit to Haiti at the end of January and met with senior officials, including President Preval & Prime Minister Pierre-Louis. The visit comes as the OAS seeks to strengthen the level of cooperation, coordination and consultation with the UN system, international financial institutions and the multilateral institutions, as well as bilateral donors at a very crucial moment in Haiti’s history, with a prolonged food crisis, upcoming elections, and a possible constitutional reform on the horizon.

From a statement issued by the OAS, the 4 most concrete priority areas identified are: 1) the issue of drug trafficking and its impact on the good functioning of public institutions; 2) efforts towards constitutional reform, and strengthening of the judicial system; 3) the current electoral process, including the preparations for the partial senatorial elections, scheduled for April 19, 2009; and 4) the implementation of the National Strategy for Growth and Poverty Reduction.

When you have known wanted drug-traffickers running for public office and the suspicion that there could be much more already existing in various levels of the government, it is positive that the government and the OAS have put the issue of drugs at the top of the list of intergovernmental concerns for the OAS members.

From the socio-economic perspective: road infrastructure, energy, education, health, irrigation, aquaculture, agriculture and support for the private sector have become the government’s top priorities.

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