CHAN Press Release: Time To Account for Five Years of Broken Promises,

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Thursday, February 19, 2009

Member groups of the Canada Haiti Action Network (CHIP) are planning events in at least nine cities across Canada at the end of February to mark the fifth anniversary of the overthrow of the elected government in Haiti. Five years after the beginning of a “stabilization” mission by the United Nations Security Council, backed by the “big three” powers in Haiti–the United States, France and Canada–the balance sheet contains too many broken promises to count.

“The foreign powers that assisted in the overthrow of President Aristide’s government in February 2004 have had five years to show the Haitian people a commitment to improve conditions in the country. This was their promise in 2004 and it has been proven to be a deception,” said Roger Annis, a coordinator of the CHIP network in Vancouver.

Members of CHIP say that every social and economic indicator in Haiti has shown a decline since 2004.

“The ministries of the Haitian government have been deliberately weakened and under funded, thanks to the foreign powers in Haiti,” says Stuart Neatby, an Ottawa-based member of CHIP. “Problems with the police and justice system in Haiti should be of particular concern to Canadians as these two agencies are the primary recipient of the $110 million per year that Canada says it is contributing to Haiti.”

The Canadian government has invited private-sector bids on a $15-million contract to train the Haitian National Police. A Canadian police contingent headed by the RCMP has been training the Haitian National Police for the past four and a half years. A report in the January 10, 2009 National Post says “previous Canadian training efforts” have “fizzled”.

Carlo Dade, the executive director of the government funded Canadian Foundation for the Americas think tank, is quoted in the same Post article as describing Canada’s police training program as “starting from zero.”

Last week, Haiti’s Provisional Electoral Council, which has been funded by Canadian aid dollars for years, removed 17 candidates of the Fanmi Lavalas party of the ousted President Aristide from the ballot of forthcoming elections for Haiti’s Senate. Some $100 million was pledged by foreign governments to Haiti following a series of calamitous hurricanes this past summer. Almost nothing has been received.

The Canada Haiti Action Network is organizing public information events in nine cities across Canada in February and March. On February 28, the network will join a day-long conference in Ottawa featuring artists, authors, activists, and community leaders from Haiti, as well as from Canada, the United States, and Europe.

For information on these events and for a statement by the Canada Haiti Action Network, go to http://canadahaitiaction.ca/.

Contact:

Stuart Neatby, Ottawa 613 293 9480

Roger Annis, Vancouver 778 858 5179

Niraj Joshi, Toronto 416 731 2325