March 20, 2013 | 2:55 pm | Print
Above: Nigel Fisher (UN Photo/Eskinder Debebe)
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Haiti must overcome its ongoing political stalemate and hold elections, according to Nigel Fisher, the Acting Special Representative of Secretary General Ban Ki-moon in Haiti.
Fisher was making his first address to the UN Security Council in New York Wednesday since being named to his post, succeeding Mariano Fernandez.
“In the absence of these elections, over the past year we have seen the replacement of some 130 elected municipal governments with Presidential appointees,” Fisher said. “Holding credible elections in 2013 is fundamental to reinforce Haiti’s democratic institutions, strengthen the rule of law and respond to the urgent needs of Haiti’s citizens such as employment and social protection.”
Fisher was echoing a frequent call by his predecessor for Haiti to hold its planned but long-delayed legislative elections.
But the country’s challenges extend beyond elections, he said, including a slow economic growth rate, high unemployment and a recent spike in cholera cases.
“Progress on elections has become the barometer for measuring progress towards a more inclusive political culture and for addressing institutional and development challenges, but Haiti faces many challenges beyond the electoral process alone,” he said.”I remain convinced that Haiti can and will make great progress in overcoming the political divisions, engaging in important and necessary reforms in the institutional and State law and responding to the urgent needs of its citizens.”
While Ban said earlier this month that the UN would not “receive” claims by cholera victims over the UN’s role in bringing the disease to the country, Fisher said the UN would “redouble efforts” to mobilize resources to fight the disease.
The UN’s decision not to accept claims against the world body for cholera was met with serious criticism, both in Haiti and abroad.