Haiti: Champs de Mars Emptied, President Martelly Kept His Word
- Tuesday, July 17, 2012 1:49 PM
Written by Vladimir Laguerre
PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (defend.ht) - Tuesday, July 17, 2012. "Finally, I can bring my children to Champs de Mars. This is where I learned to ride my bicycle, and this is precisely where I met their mother ... I've always wanted to come back here with them. My children will finally be able to know what life was like before January 12, 2012." Charles Jean Luma, 47, father of two children.
This attraction, a Park surrounding the National Palace is the largest leisure center in Port-au Prince, Haiti's capital.
Champs de Mars, which once made people happy, became, after the devastating earthquake of January 12, 2010, the largest center of refugees and the symbol of the devastation. 27,960 people, 4,651 families, occupied it.
La Place Petion
They were found everywhere in the Parks of Jean-Jacques Dessalines, Alexandre PÃ©tion, Toussaint Louverture, Henri Christophe, Catherine Flon, Marron Inconnu, the Constitution, Artists, Martyrs, and the Kiosk Occide Jeanty. Champs de Mars was no longer what it was.
The process of relocating these refugees is a success story for the Martelly government. It only took four months; contrary to critics who estimated the process would take upwards of a few more years.
Those who used to frequent this place attractive smile again and begin to relive the highlights of the past. The comings and goings succeed.
"I never believed that President Martelly could accomplish this mission in such a short time, the situation is so complex. Now I finally understand that officials may act for the benefit of all if they want, "welcomed a student who, during debate on the Place Jean-Jacques Dessalines, remember this quote from Plato: "With a good will can achieve great results."
Successful Haitian-Canadian Cooperation
President Martelly may indeed be proud of having made a firm commitment to end this situation, which had people living in precarious conditions for too long. Mr. Martelly, satisfied with this step, noted that he is the kind of President who made every effort to fulfill its promises. This resettlement project was successful, in part, thanks to a generous contribution of about $20 million from the Canadian government.
"We promised that those affected will be relocated to permanent homes, now it's done: They are no longer on the Champs de Mars. I have a results oriented team, and these are the results," the President stated, assuring that while there are still many families to be relocated, the emptying of Champs de Mars is a success story that has created the momentum to help people believe that better days are, indeed, ahead.
Of the 1.5 million displaced persons who were living in camps, one million have been re-located into transitional or more permanent housing. On Former Minister Odaâs trip in January 2012, Canada announced that it would be supporting the re-settlement of families and re-location of small businesses operating on the Champs de Mars, the national park located in the heart of Port-au-Prince across from the destroyed Palace and government buildings.
âHaiti is a long-term priority for the Government of Canada and in each of the past two years, Haiti has been the largest recipient of worldwide aid from Canada. Canada is on track to meet its $400 million post-earthquake reconstruction commitment to Haiti. Total Canadian engagement totals more than $1 billion from 2006-2012.
Canadaâs engagement in Haiti is multi-dimensional. Canada is working with the Government of Haiti, its Canadian partners, and its international counterparts to assist the most vulnerable and to rebuilt Haiti in accordance with Haitiâs action plan. Canada is committed to working closely with the Government of Haiti and other donors to deliver aid in an effective, transparent, and accountable way.â Said the Canadian Ambassador, M. Henri-Paul Normandin.
Up to the Carnival of Flowers
For now, the cap is placed on the redevelopment of Champs de Mars, which is preparing to host next, 29, 30 and 31 July, the first edition of the Carnival of Flowers, at the initiative of the Presidency.
Everything is already set in motion to achieve this major event, which aims to showcase our rich culture and our flora. 35 million gourdes have been allocated by the State. The organizers, that encourages Haitians here and abroad and foreigners to make the trip, promising a quality show.
The area of Champs de Mars to be transformed in two years.
The Martelly/Lamothe administration wants to remake the image of Champs de Mars, lined with many buildings dating from the thirties. The National Palace in ruins since the devastating earthquake, the MusÃ©e du PanthÃ©on National (MUPANAH), the former Move Theater Triomphe, the REX Theatre and the National Bureau of Ethnology and the Faculty of Ethnology, which represent symbols.
Through a project yet, undisclosed to the public, officials plan to build a museum of Heads of State and several other buildings. The center of attraction will be completely transformed for the good of everyone. The rehabilitation work will be completed in January 2014.
Related 01.11.2012: Haiti: Canada to help relocate earthquake homeless in the Champ de Mars
Related 08.12.2011: Major Relocation Operation Expected on Champs de Mars