President-Elect Preval addressed a thousand Haitian-Americans gathered at the national 4-H center in Chevy Chase, Md. His main themes were development and an end to gang violence.
Earlier in the day, he also addressed the OAS. Coverage by the Caribbean Media Corp. follows this account of the Maryland event.
He appealed for unity and an end to divisions, a coming together for the good of the country.
He recounted the process leading up to his election: the U.N. helicopter from Marmelade, the call to quiet crowds which he felt he had not called out. The election commission told him of ten thousand ballots missing, then five thousand, and he told the commission to continue its research. The commission soon called him to tell him he had been elected.
He recounted his visits to South America and his confidence that Brazil, Argentina, and Chile would continue to help Haiti.
The Haiti Democracy Project was represented at the event by several of its Haitian-American members and by the chairman of its board Amb. Ernest H. Preeg, and executive director James Morrell. The Union des Jeunes Progressistes was represented by Wilby Louis and Ronel Odatte.
Haitian President-elect Rene Preval says restoring a favourable climate for investment is among the challenges facing his presidency in the coming years.
Preval, who was elected to office last month in the first election following the controversial removal of his predecessor, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, said that he would also want to develop the human resource capacity in his country.
“We must reform the state to build the nation, restore national production, develop and value human resources, and re-establish a favourable climate for investment,” he said in an address to the Organization of American States (OAS).
“Achieving these very immense tasks means that all the sectors of the political life must find a minimum of understanding to manage the state with respect for differences, and with collective interests and a fruitful cooperation on the matters that require consensus,” he added.
Preval, on his first official visit to Washington since his election, said he would work with all political stakeholders for the development of Haiti, emphasizing that economic growth could only be achieved with good governance and international investment.
“I will engage all my energies to seek consensus solutions to the differences, to the misunderstandings that may arise between Haiti and its neighbours in the hemisphere,” he said.
Addressing representatives of 34 member states, Preval thanked the international community in general and the OAS in particular for supporting Haiti during the February elections and underscored the need for continued international support as Haiti seeks to rebuild its democratic institutions.
OAS Secretary-General Jose Miguel Insulza reiterated the organization’s commitment to the Caribbean nation and its intention to continue helping the former French colony in the future.
“The elimination of extreme poverty is essential for the task you face. It’s a formidable task to create a climate of economic and social development in your country, to develop an infrastructure to generate opportunities for productive employment,” Insulza said.
The secretary-general expressed the will of the OAS to continue working “against poverty, against inequality, against hunger, social exclusion to strengthen democratic institutions and democratic governance,” in Haiti.
The chair of the OAS Permanent Council, Ambassador Sonia Johnny of St Lucia, said that “more than ever, the international and the hemispheric community need to demonstrate in political, economic and financial terms, its long-term commitment to the social and economic reconstruction in the Republic of Haiti”.