The UN Stabilization Mission in Haiti, MINUSTAH and the Organization of American States are the main parties responsible for the process that should have resulted in the holding of elections in the country on January 8, 2006. Anyway, this is what CEP member Rosemond Pradel says:
I think it is very unfortunate to be in such a situation, with international officials who are supposed to have come here to help, but instead have plunged the country and institutions such as the CEP into trouble.
We want to hold transparent elections, elections that are supposed to be more than just something aimed at replacing and putting people in power. We, in the CEP, want the elections to be a divorce from the existing political practice in the country. We want them to be transparent. We want them to be elections that people cannot call into question. We want them to be serious elections so that we can finally have political stability in this country.
Unfortunately, our international partners hide behind curtains while they try to exonerate themselves over the double failure they have experienced.
First, we will examine the question of the voting centers. It is a project that was carried out within the CEP, as early as October. Here is a document – unfortunately, you represent a radio station and not a television that could show the document that was prepared by the management of electoral operations within the CEP. According to this document, we went into the field and found out that 1,037 polling stations should be established in the country, in the communal sections, to satisfy the needs and desires of the people, without giving rise to complaints or protests.
Minustah pretended that they did not have enough funds for that and that they could not support 1,037 voting centres, but 809.
Even before we adopted the date of January 8, the international partners, that is, MINUSTAH and the OAS, came to the CEP, and we asked them to make a presentation on the tasks they needed to accomplish and the commitments that had to be completed prior to our publishing the election dates.
MINUSTAH presented what is called the logistical plan for the elections. That means distributing the ballots, collecting the reports after the elections and what I would call taking them to the Communal Electoral Offices (BECs) and Departmental Electoral Offices (BEDs) and then to the headquarters in Port-au-Prince.
MINUSTAH officially declared in front of the CEP members that people would not have to walk for more than two hours in the communal sections to find a voting centre. They said not more than two hours. This is the reason why we signed this document that presented the 809 voting centers, rather than the 1,037 that we proposed.
For its part, the OAS made a presentation and accepted commitments according to which all the CINs, that is, the National Identification Cards, would arrive in the country by December 15and that their distribution would be completed throughout the Republic of Haiti by December 25, at the latest. This is the promise that was made by the OAS in the presence of the CEP and also in the presence of other international partners.
From that moment – on the basis of these commitments – we chose January 8 as the date for the first round of elections. We might not have said yes, because the tendency that prevailed in the country would agree to postpone the polling date, as long as we provided guarantees that the elections would be a success.
There are even political parties that proposed February 7 as the date of the first round. We could have gone there. We did not postpone that far. We did not make this choice because it was said that we should set it for a date as close to February 7 as possible and to avoid going beyond that date as much as possible. When the OAS promised that the card distribution process would be complete on December 25, we said that January 8 was an ideal date, that it is a date that guarantees that there will be no unavoidable postponement and that even if there was a little problem, we would have time to correct it between December 25 and January 8.
But it happens that today, instead of assuming its responsibility for this failure, for what I could I call its inability to deliver the cards, an international organization like the OAS, which has international and regional dimensions, is trying to hide behind the people by pretending that the CEP is in charge of the voting centers. The voting-center issue was over as early as the month of November. The CEP members signed a document on the voting centers. They certified the choice of the voting centers in November. It is not from that moment that the OAS assumed the responsibility and the commitment to declare that all of the cards would be here by December 15 and that they would all be distributed by December 25.
I do not understand why the OAS dares say today that the CEP is responsible. Let us be serious, dear international partners, you have failed. Tell the people that you have failed and what you are going to do to correct this failure. We have had enough of the incompetent international players who remain here, who spend money but do not deliver the goods.