Originally: Engineer says bicentenary ceremony work will not be ready by January 1

Yves Coles, the engineer in charge of the work being carried out by the Construction Work Group, Groupement des Travaux de Construction, GTC, has asked the people of Gonaives to make peace in order to make it possible to complete these projects by January 1, 2004. He blames the situation that is prevailing in the city for the fact that the projects have not been completed. He says the projects have not ended yet because of the demonstrators. The engineer says that many projects will not be completed, in particular those under way at the Cathedral where the religious ceremony will take place.

“We shall do everything we can, because we only resumed work yesterday. We were even the subjects of attacks on occasions.”

“Will you go on even after January 1?

“I would hope so, because we shall not be able to finish the work completely. We shall do a general clean-up here. We shall do what we can for the moment. Then, if possible, we shall continue after January 1, 2004 so that we can finish the job.”

“How long do you think it will take you to complete these projects?”

“Well, I shall answer in a sarcastic manner. Gonaives is a city where you can be working as usual and then suddenly things get hot. If there is nothing special to cause us to stop again, it will take us a month to complete the work.”

Two sides of the parade ground are barred with containers, and police have been posted there in order to ensure the workers’ security. Two stands are under construction. The painting of the walls of the parade ground has begun. The Toussaint Louverture Police Station has also been painted.

As regards the statement made by Buteur Metayer that no celebration is possible in Gonaives, we can say that it has surprised many people living in Gonaives. They are disappointed with the movement that was being mounted to overthrow Lavalas from power. According to a reliable source, this statement was made following a meeting that was held in the poor neighborhood of Raboteau between Senator Jean-Claude)Delice and members of the Artibonite Resistance Front led by Metayer.

This meeting allegedly lasted two days, beginning on Friday December 26 and ending on Saturday December 27. We tried to contact Winter Etienne, spokesman for the front. He did not want to make any statement. However, he said he would perhaps make a statement at about 9 p.m. He added that there was no division within the Artibonite Resistance Front. As a result, we cannot yet make comments on the statement because Metayer made the statement but Etienne says there is no division among them.