David Lee has resigned from his post as special representative and chief of the special OAS mission for the reinforcement of democracy in Haiti. In his resignation letter, which is dated 3 May, Lee says he originally accepted the invitation of the OAS secretary general to head the mission in April 2002 for a limited period of time so that he could help resolve the electoral crisis. The political situation in Haiti has given rise to political, socioeconomic, and democratic developments in the interest of all Haitians. Following the recent and important events and also following the adoption of Resolutions 1529 and 1542 by the UN Security Council, which will modify the configuration of the activities of the international presence in Haiti, Lee has consequently presented his resignation, which will take effect on 31 May 2004.

In response to the resignation of OAS Ambassador Lee, Paul Denis of the Democratic Convergence said that Lee’s resignation was expected, because the Haiti issue has been transferred to the UN Security Council since beginning of March. Moreover, the international presence here is going to be replaced by a UN peacekeeping force, he added. So all this has rendered the OAS special mission in Haiti inoperative.

An OAS statement said “following recent major events and the adoption of United Nations Security Council Resolutions 1529 and 1542, which will change the future configuration of international activities and presence in Haiti, Ambassador Lee has tendered his resignation, effective 31 May 2004”.

OAS secretary-general Cesar Gaviria said that Ambassador Denneth Modeste would serve as his Special Representative in Haiti and Chief of the OAS Special Mission until further notice.

Ambassador Modeste will be returning to Washington next week to participate in consultations between the OAS and other key players on the role of the OAS and the Caribbean Community (Caricom) regarding “the challenges which the new situation presents in Haiti,” the statement said.

In accepting Ambassador Lee’s resignation, Gaviria underlined his dedicated service to Haiti and to the OAS, as well as his coordination of the Secretary General’s Group of Friends in Port-au-Prince and to the OAS’s initiatives in governance, justice, security, human rights and dialogue in Haiti.

Ambassador Lee was thankful to the “extraordinary quality and dedication of those who have volunteered to work in the Special Mission under circumstances that were always difficult and sometimes very dangerous”.

He said he was satisfied with the Mission’s attempt as “coordinator and representative of the international community in the search for a consensual solution to the electoral crisis, to professionalize the Haitian National Police and to protect the exercise of the rights of expression, association and assembly by all Haitians”.

However, he said that the voluntary resources provided by contributors to carry out the mission’s mandate were proportionately few and unpredictable, thereby hampering planning and implementation.

“The experience of the past two years demonstrates conclusively that for successful OAS involvement a clear and specific mandate and adequate and explicit resources are essential requirements for the whole period in question,” he added.