Two Nations News

any eye on politics

Four months and $2M US tax dollars later, Haiti’s new Parliament building sits unfinished and unused

Legislators say they must now dip heavily into their public treasury to finish the political noodle

By Jacob Kushner and Jean Pharés Jérôme

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti — One Friday last November, US Ambassador to Haiti Kenneth Merten joined Haiti’s President and then-Prime Minister at the edge of the Caribbean Sea in downtown Port-au-Prince.

To much fanfare, the trio inaugurated a $1.9 million US-funded building meant as a temporary home for Haiti’s Parliament, which had lost its old building and 32 of its staff members in the 7.0-magnitude earthquake that struck Haiti in January 2010.

“The Haitian Parliament, which has a critical role in building a better Haiti, now has a location befitting its importance to good democratic governance on behalf of the Haitian people,” Merten proclaimed.

But more than four months later, that location remains vacant. The building is scattered with woodwork trimmings and debris from a costly ongoing renovation paid for by the Haitian treasury because legislators say the United States never finished the job. And critics in Haiti charge that the unfinished work and empty building stand as a powerful metaphor for much of what is wrong with USAID’s approach to development in Haiti: that it lacks coordination with and input from the Haitians themselves about how best to undertake reconstruction projects.

Click HERE to read the full article as it appeared at the Global Post.

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