Skip To Main

UNITED STATES: American lawmaker urges continued support for Haiti- Caribbean Daily News

“I look forward to working closely with the Haitian government, the Obama administration, my colleagues in the Congress, and my constituents to create long term solutions for Haiti,” Clarke said.

NEW YORK, New York, CMC – Democratic Congresswoman Yvette D. Clarke on Sunday called for continued close collaboration with Haitian authorities and support in addressing the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) nation’s plight in the wake of the devastating earthquake in January.

“After witnessing firsthand the destruction caused by the January 12th earthquake, it is clear that we must continue to work alongside the Haitian government to rectify social and economic problems facing Haiti,” Clarke, representative for the 11th Congressional District in Brooklyn, New York, told the Caribbean Media Corporation (CMC).

She was part of a United States Congressional delegation that has just returned from Haiti “in order to assess the impact of the ongoing relief effort and analyse the prospect for future development” in the country where more than 230,000 people died as a result of the quake that also destroyed many of the buildings in the capital, Port-au-Prince.

The nine-member delegation also included Democratic representatives Elliott Engel, of New York, and Donald Payne, of New Jersey.

“I have spent considerable time speaking with Haitian leaders and citizens alike. We must develop a long term strategy in order to foster sustainable development in the devastated nation,” said Clarke, the daughter of Jamaican parents.

“As a representative of the second largest Haitian immigrant population in the United States (behind Miami), this devastation has hit close to home for many of my constituents,” she added, disclosing that she was “examining avenues to provide Haiti with more than just humanitarian relief”.

The lawmaker said the US must develop long-term rebuilding efforts, reunite Haitian families, and create sustainable economic opportunities for all Haitians to enjoy,” Clarke continued.

“I look forward to working closely with the Haitian government, the Obama administration, my colleagues in the Congress, and my constituents to create long term solutions for Haiti,” Clarke said.

On Friday, the White House announced that Haitian President Rene Preval will on Monday make his first official visit to the United States since the earthquake ravaged his country.

The White House said Preval will hold discussions with President Obama, who is expected to ask legislators for more than US$1 billion in aid for the French-speaking nation.

Preval said he will also press Obama to help address some of Haiti’s more immediate concerns.

“There is an urgency. The urgency is that we have entered into a rainy season,” he said, stating that the country needs at least US$93 million immediately to fix drainage pipes to prevent flooding.

“We need to put jobs in the provinces; and, for that, you need roads, electricity, education, health,” Preval added.

The talks with Obama come weeks before a major donor conference on Haiti, at the United Nations, on March 31.

The US State Department said the US and the UN, in cooperation with the Government of Haiti, and with the support of Brazil, Canada, the European Union, France, and Spain, will co-host the ministerial “International Donors’ Conference Towards a New Future for Haiti.”

“The goal of the conference is to mobilize international support for the development needs of Haiti to begin to lay the foundation for Haiti’s long-term recovery,” the State Department said.

“The Government of Haiti faces enormous challenges following the devastating earthquake of January 12. Meeting these challenges will require a sustained and substantial commitment from the international community, in support of the Government and people of Haiti.

“At the donors’ conference, Haiti will present its vision for Haiti’s future and how international support can assist. Donor countries, international organisations, and other partners will have an opportunity to pledge resources, to coordinate in support of Haiti’s long-term recovery, and to commit to a sustained effort to support Haiti,” the State Department added.