For the first time in recent history, the United States has chosen not to provide financial support for elections in the Republic of Haiti. The Government of Haiti (GOH) announced that elections would take place on time and in-line with its recently published electoral calendar. The U.S. State Department followed with a statement declaring that their decision was primarily due to electoral delays and the specter of facing the reality of what conducting completely new elections would mean.
Several weeks earlier, the GOH acknowledged that it lacked funding to hold elections and issued a clarion call to all Haitians in Haiti as well as those living abroad to be prepared to come to its aid. Leaders in the Haitian Diaspora and in the private sector, such as Dr. Joseph E. Baptiste of NOAH, Dr. Laurent Pierre-Philippe of Nord Ouest Reuni and Mr. Daniel Gerard Rouzier and his group responded favorably by mobilizing their base and received initial pledges of support. A debt of gratitude goes out to the tens of thousands of patriots who answered the call and who may now prepare to commit to a robust electoral observation mission, if necessary.
A high level Haitian Official who asked to remain anonymous acknowledged that it is understandable that the U.S. pulled their funding but doing so just may have been a blessing in disguise. According to him, “A few things are uniquely in the realm of responsibility of nation-states and conducting elections is one of them.”
While he did acknowledge the tremendous financial burden this would pose on the GOH, he also mentioned the positive impact that funding its own elections independent of the U.S. could have on Haiti’s national pride going forward.
“Haiti just might be forging a new paradigm where it will now assume more responsibility for its obligations,” he mused.
The Ministry of Economy and Finance announced that $59 million has been budgeted to hold elections. According to Yves Romain Bastien, the funds for the elections came from: the APN [National Port Authority] ($5 million), Les Moulins d’Haiti [Flour Company] ($2 million), the BRH [Bank of the Republic of Haiti] ($42 million) and BNC [Bank National of Credit] ($1 million) (RFM).