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Haitian President to US: Send Aid to Haiti Gov't Not NGOs

Haitian President Michel Martelly (r) during an interview at VOA headquarters in Washington, Feb 7, 2014.
Haitian President Michel Martelly says in a VOA interview that his government has asked the United States to modify the way aid money is sent to Haiti, calling for more to be funneled through the government rather than non-governmental organizations.

In an interview Friday at VOA headquarters in Washington, Martelly acknowledged that the reason for distributing money mainly through NGOs has been "corruption" in Haiti and "lack of confidence in the Haitian system." But he said that was changing.

"Today, that there is a new dynamic, today that there is a new leadership, today that we are engaged in reinforcing the democratic process, reinforcing the judiciary power, reinforcing our police force, and of course, allowing the ULCC, which is the unit that fights corruption, to do its work, I believe they should give us a chance to control Haiti, spend that money the way we feel, or we think we have to do it," he said.

Four years after Haiti's devastating 2010 earthquake, complaints remain about the slow pace of reconstruction efforts. And questions have been raised about where all the billions of dollars in pledged aid money have gone.

Martelly told VOA's Creole Service he wished Haiti had gotten all the aid, but that not having all that was promised made his government more engaged in doing things on its own. He called the "capacity to do it ourself" a new mentality Haiti needed to develop.

Martelly was in Washington for the National Prayer Breakfast Thursday. After the event, he met with President Barack Obama at the White House.

The Haitian leader told VOA the "greatest thing" is that President Obama has reaffirmed his "willingness to stand by the Haitian people."

The January 12, 2010 earthquake in Haiti killed hundreds of thousands of people and left more than a million homeless.

Some 150,000 people are still living in tent cities.