Accessibility links

Haitian President-Elect: 'Change is Coming'


Haiti's President-elect Michel Martelly greets supporters after holding a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, Apr 21 2011

Haiti's President-elect Michel Martelly greets supporters after holding a news conference at the National Press Club in Washington, Apr 21 2011

Haitian President-elect Michel Martelly says change is coming to Haiti when he is sworn in on May 14.

At a news conference in Washington Thursday, Martelly said his focus as Haiti's new president will be to revive and modernize the country's economy, to provide free access to education and to move victims of last year's earthquake out of tents by jumpstarting reconstruction. Martelly said he also plans to strengthen Haiti's agricultural sector.

Haiti's Electoral Council announced late Wednesday that Martelly won the March 20 presidential runoff election with nearly 68 percent of the vote. The release of the official results had been delayed several times.

Thursday, Martelly stressed the importance of loans for Haiti to accomplish the reforms and economic stimulus it needs. He said Haitians "do not want handouts, they want opportunities to create wealth."

Martelly said that once he takes office, his government will do an assessment to ensure that foreign aid is going to the people. He said the lack of infrastructure and basic services is evidence that the money financial institutions have raised for Haiti has not been "well spent."

Haiti is still recovering from the January 2010 earthquake, with hundreds of thousands of people still living in tent cities as hurricane season approaches. The country is also suffering from a deadly cholera epidemic.

At the news conference Thursday, Martelly described his visit to the U.S. as "very productive." He said he discussed Haiti's priorities with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, including its goal of attracting foreign investment.

Haitian President-elect Michel Martelly says change is coming to Haiti when he is sworn in on May 14.

During a visit to the United States, Mr. Martelly said Thursday he plans to revive and modernize the country's economy, to provide free access to education, and to move victims of last year's earthquake out of tents through reconstruction.

Mr. Martelly, a popular Haitian singer, also said he plans to strengthen Haiti's agricultural sector. He stressed the importance of loans for Haiti to accomplish the reforms and economic stimulus it needs.

Mr. Martelly spoke a day after Haitian officials said he won a March 20 presidential runoff election with nearly 68 percent of the vote.

Hours after the announcement, violence erupted in several Haitian cities, and at least one person was killed. A spokesman for the United Nations police force in Haiti said demonstrators set fire to a government building in Belladere in central Haiti. He said protests also took place in Leogane, south of the capital, Port-au-Prince.

Haiti is still recovering from a January 2010 earthquake, with hundreds of thousands of people still living in tent cities as hurricane season approaches. The country is also suffering from a deadly cholera epidemic.

On Thursday, Mr. Martelly described his visit to the U.S. as "very productive." He said he discussed Haiti's priorities with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, including its goal of attracting foreign investment.

XS
SM
MD
LG