Security is important for potential presidents in Haiti

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

In a debate that took place Sunday, sponsored by the U.S. embassy, two potential presidents cited security as an important priority for Haiti after the presidential election. They referred to the presidential election as the restoring of democracy, although the role of the USA in terminating the previous democratic period is disputed, in particular because United States marines and other security personnel escorted and flew the previous democratically elected Jean-Bertrand Aristide out of Haiti in circumstances which Aristide refers to as kidnapping. One candidate, Charles Henri Baker stated that "economic development will never come to this country without security," alluding to both the economic situation on the island, where growth has been minimal in the last couple of years, and the security situation involving some areas of the country and even areas of the capitol as not being under police control.

Baker added that if elected he planned to quadruple the police force and reinstate the army. The army had been dismantled, with wide popular support, by Aristide, because of its massive and systematic human rights violations. Baker's goal is to have the police force up to 20,000 officers. Another candidate, Evans Paul agreed saying that "the priority is to create the conditions of economic growth," and pledging to bring inflation down from the 22% in 2004 down to below 10%.