BRIEFING U.S. MEMBERS OF CONGRESS ON HAITI, OAS DELEGATION CALLS FOR URGENT SHORT TERM ASSISTANCE FOR THE COUNTRY
Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin today led an Organization of American States delegation to the United States Congress, where they briefed members of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere on developments in Haiti and called for urgent, short-term assistance to address immediate needs for jobs and economic development.
(Media-Newswire.com) - Assistant Secretary General Albert Ramdin today led an Organization of American States delegation to the United States Congress, where they briefed members of the House of Representatives Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere on developments in Haiti and called for urgent, short-term assistance to address immediate needs for jobs and economic development.
The House of Representatives Western Hemisphere Subcommittee Chairman, Elliot Engel; Yvette Clarke ( New York ); Barbara Lee ( California ); and Donald Payne ( New Jersey ) were the Members of Congress on hand for the briefing, along with senior staffers representing other members of Congress.
For their part, the OAS delegation that included member state ambassadors and senior Secretariat officials talked about Haiti’s urgent need for short-term job-creation and poverty alleviation, particularly in the wake of demonstrations this week, triggered by the rising cost of living. Unless something is done urgently, the situation could deteriorate even further, they warned, with Ramdin also suggesting the need for some form of a social safety net.
The Assistant Secretary General and the ambassadors also spoke about the vital role being played by the hemispheric organization to help consolidate gains already made in the country, including with respect to a relative stability in the political arena and public security. In order to secure those gains, the international community must help deliver some concrete “wins” on the ground by way of results, they argued, reiterating a readiness to explore with the Haitian government how to further support its development objectives.
They also updated the Members of Congress on developments on the ground in Haiti, particularly after their first-hand observation and from meetings with political leaders, civil society and the private sector during their visit to the Caribbean country last February, to demonstrate solidarity and to view OAS projects. The OAS members highlighted the important collaboration between the OAS and other international organizations engaged with Haiti, while arguing for a much better coordination of aid to the country. The OAS officials also stressed their support for temporary protected status for Haitian nationals living in the United States, and asked for congressional support to pass the Hemispheric Opportunity through Partnership Encouragement ( HOPE ) Act-II to promote economic development and investment in Haiti.
Besides expressing their willingness to do whatever they can to help Haiti, the Members of Congress offered perspectives on many of the issues, emphasizing among others the vital need to ensure an appropriate infrastructure for education as a strategy to redress poverty and other problems.
Included on the OAS delegation that visited Capitol Hill were: Ambassadors Cornelius A. Smith ( Bahamas ); Osmar Chohfi ( Brazil ); Graeme Clark ( Canada ); Duly Brutus ( Haiti ); and Hector Morales ( United States ). Suzanne Laporte, Secretary for External Relations, also participated in the OAS briefing.
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